Azara Blog: MPs want to tax motorists and air passengers a lot more

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Date published: 2008/03/05

The BBC says:

The UK Treasury has "continually demonstrated a lack of ambition and imagination" when it comes to green taxes, a report by MPs has concluded.

The Commons Environmental Audit Committee says there is little sign that ministers have acted on the recommendations of the Stern Review.

They also call for a rise in air taxes, especially on long-haul flights.

Failure to act would undermine the government's environmental credibility, warned the MPs.

The committee of 16 MPs said green taxes, as a proportion of all taxes, has declined from its peak of 9.7% in 1999 to 7.6% in 2006.

"The Stern Review - published by the Treasury in late 2006 - helped change the debate on the economics of climate change," said committee chairman Tim Yeo.

"But the Treasury is itself not responding with the scale and urgency that Stern recommended.

As for the government's aviation policy, the committee welcomed ministers' decision to switch Air Passenger Duty from per passenger to per flight.

But the report said more still needed to be done: "It is vital that tax on aviation is not just reformed but significantly increased, so as to stabilise demand and resulting emissions.

"The Treasury should closely examine the merits and practicalities of varying rates by classifying journeys into three bands - short-haul, long-haul, and very long-haul - in order to reflect better the differing magnitude of emissions."

Tim Yeo has been known to hop on a plane just to go play golf in China. The country does not need lectures by the ruling elite about how evil the peasants allegedly are, when in fact it is the ruling elite that are the biggest part of the problem. Cut the salaries of MPs in half and let them take responsiblity for their excess consumption.

Since Yeo is willing to mention the Stern Review, perhaps he should have pointed out that Stern recommended a tax on petrol of around 13p per litre. The current UK fuel duty is around 59p per litre. But never let reality get in the way of an MP.

And there is no point contending that the British allegedly do not pay enough of what are laughingly described as "green" taxes. Stern didn't recommend that "green" taxes just go down the black hole of central government expenditure, which is what happens. These are not "green" taxes, these are just money grabs by government to help keep its budget from being even more massively in deficit than it is already.

Sure air taxes should cover the alleged environmental damage. Given the current level of air passenger duty it happens to be already around what many people suggest it should be already. But control freak MPs only want to limit demand, since the peasants should not be able to have the same privileges as MPs. The ruling elite believes that only the ruling elite should fly.

And if you believe that road and air should cover their alleged environmental damage, then so should rail transport. Funnily enough no committee of MPs ever suggests that. Instead they perpetually whine that more and more government money (which represents a negative tax for rail passengers) should be thrown at rail transport.

And domestic electricity and gas consumers should also pay a carbon tax. Again, never suggested.

Somehow the ruling elite only ever want to persecute car drivers and air passengers. Perhaps the BBC ought to do its job and ask why. (Well, of course the BBC is part of the ruling elite and so is part of the problem, and so is incapable of asking why.)

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