Britons could stomach green taxes says poll

According to a poll published this week the British public are ready to accept taxes that encourage environmentally friendly behaviour.

The ICM poll, published in the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, February 22, asked if people were prepared to make sacrifices in their own lives to combat climate change and whether they would accept a tax that would make the polluter pay on a personal level.

Almost two thirds of respondents said they would welcome such a tax, while 34% said they were not in favour.

Although answering a poll – particularly one that is essentially asking ‘are you good?’ – is different to acting on one’s intentions, the results have been seen as encouraging by politicians keen to garner votes on their Green credentials.

The Green Party’s principal speaker, Keith Taylor, lost no time in bringing the poll to the attention of the Prime Minister, calling on the government to introduce a series of green taxes, saying they would not be as unpopular as it fears.

He said: “The Green Party recognises the positive role that taxation can play in changing behaviour.

“The problem of climate change is not just another factor that can be addressed as and when it’s seen to be politically expedient; it is real and happening now and we have to do something about it.

“What this poll shows is that Britons want to see action now, not sometime never.

“As expert after expert, including the Prime Minister’s own advisers, warn of the severity of climate change, it is simply unacceptable that gas-guzzling cars are taxed the same amount as more efficient cars, or that insulation and double glazing aren’t installed as standard in new homes.

“The biggest outrage is the aviation industry, which actively increases its emissions while all other sectors are working towards reducing theirs – and all subsidised by the public.

“Blair prefers to wait for cleaner technology to emerge, rather than tax passengers. You have to wonder where the incentive to develop this technology will come from while the industry remains exempt from any tax, never mind pollution tax.

“It is big business the government is protecting by delaying implementing the ‘polluter pays’ principle Blair used to espouse, and not the consumer. Britain has shown it wants to do more to avert ecological catastrophe and it is high time the government took climate change as seriously as it pretends to.”

The ICM poll also quizzed the public on their perception of potential Prime Ministers in terms of their environmental conviction.

The Conservative’s David Cameron came out top of the heap, trailed by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

by Sam Bond

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