Azara Blog: Tories want to raise more money from so-called green taxes

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Date published: 2006/08/31

The BBC says:

More money would be raised from "green" taxes under a Tory government, shadow chancellor George Osborne has said.

He told the Financial Times he was "completely open-minded" about the measures he would bring in, but it was clear more revenue should be generated.

He will ride on a magnetic train during a trip to Japan, and said such trains could "virtually eliminate domestic flights" if brought into the UK.

Environmental campaigners have been pressing for new taxes on aviation.

Mr Osborne would not specify exactly how he would increase the proportion of revenue taken from "green" taxes during an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Of course there are different options. You can tax cars - we've already got fuel duty and vehicle excise duty," he said.

"There's the whole issue of taxing aviation. There are things like landfill taxes; there is the climate change levy, which I think should be replaced by a carbon levy on industry."

Since there are no firm proposals it is all hot air. But at least one politician seems to have admitted that car drivers already pay a carbon tax (and nobody else does). If carbon production should be the basis underlying so-called green taxes, then the only fair principle is that all sources of carbon pay the same rate of tax (per kg of carbon equivalent produced). It is ridiculous to tax one activity (e.g. car driving) at an extortionate rate and other activities (e.g. heating houses) with practically a zero rate (which is the Lib Dem policy).

On the magnetic train front, this is just the latest example of politicians trying to pick industrial winners, when history fully shows they are completely hopeless at that. It was claimed on the radio that these trains could get from London to Manchester in 45 minutes. Great, now London commuters can live in Manchester, what a great advance in life that would be. Creating (and no doubt vastly subsidising) these trains will just encourage people to live further and further from their workplace, which is hardly "sustainable".

(Also, if you are going to talk "green" you ought to at least walk the talk. What on earth is Osborne thinking by taking a junket to Asia? With just this one trip he will be responsible for a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Go to the back of the class. Of course the ruling elite, including the so-called environmentalists, do not want to make any sacrifices, they want the ordinary people of Britain to make the sacrifices.)

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