A massive hike in tax on waste dumped from skips could have a catastrophic effect on the construction industry, MPs have been told.
Many firms are unable to collect the skips they have loaned out because they cannot afford to empty the waste inside them after the tax rate jumped from £2.50 a tonne to £64 a tonne.
The changes introduced last Friday could end up costing thousands of jobs, with as many as four firms a day winding up their operations, MPs were told during a meeting in parliament.
Mark Bensted, managing director of recycling firm Powerday and an industry representative, said: "People never like skip companies unless they have to employ them but they are a crucial part of the construction industry.
"We feel very passionately about this. It has not been consulted on. Big companies and small companies are absolutely united that these things need time.
"It's irresponsible, it's unfair and the implication of the rise could be catastrophic for this industry and the construction industry as a whole."
Debbie Higham, who works for the industry magazine Skip Hire, said she had been inundated from firms worried about the tax rise.
She said: "Everyone is up in arms, they don't know what to do. They cannot go and pick up their skips because they cannot afford to dump the waste.
"It has devastated the industry and we now need a decision on this issue."