Friday, 30 May 2008

Clegg - green taxes must be 'recycled'

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Nick Clegg has said that all green taxes had to be 'recycled' in order for the public to "sign up to green taxes" in remarks reported on Politics Home. He said that in his view the imposition of 'green taxes' should be offset by reductions in income tax. Certainly it is fair to say that the current focus of this debate is on the amount of tax people are paying and the damaging effect that is having on family budgets. In this climate the green lobbies voice is struggling to be heard.

He also said that in his view "instead of endlessly tinkering around with excise duties and fuel duty, we should move in the medium to long-term to a system of road-user charging where people pay for the amount that they drive". Clegg also raised questions about where the money to fund the government's assistance package was coming from; it certainly isn't from companies like Shell who reported record-breaking annual profits of £13.9bn earlier this year.

At the risk of sounding like a 'bit of a lefite' I can't help wondering why these profits are not being mentioned by any side of this debate. The consumer is being punished by both the blunt instrument of taxation and companies who are making a mint out of the rising price of oil. Meanwhile, there is absolutely no incentive for these companies to develop alternative fuels. The case for swinging taxation of profits, if only it is a 'windfall' one, is clear and will help those in need and the environment.

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