In a report out today, the committee has charged the government department with undermining public trust in using environmental taxes to raise revenue rather than put the funds back into improving the environment.

Environmental Audit Committee chair, Joan Walley MP, said: “The Treasury needs to stop giving green taxes a bad name.

“Recent Budgets have created the perception that environmental taxes are simply being used to pinch extra pennies from people.

“Politicians should use green taxes more carefully to challenge and change the most polluting activities. The Government must put its money where its mouth is and put greening the economy at the heart of its plan for growth.”

Two of the government’s recent tax changes were singled out for particular criticism: reducing the Fuel Duty by a penny and the proposed changes to Air Passenger Duty.

The MPs say that no new incentives are being given to the public to switch to lower carbon alternatives or to change their behaviour to be more environmentally aware.

The committee is calling for the government to ring fence some of the revenue from green taxes to invest into green alternatives such as reducing public transport fares.

The report says that a more coherent strategy towards environmental taxes is needed and clear signals need to be sent to the public so they understand the connection between the taxes and environmental issues.

The MPs were also critical of the Plan for Growth, published alongside the Budget. They say it does not provide the much needed step-change to aid the transition to a low-carbon economy.

They are urging the Government to demonstrate greater commitment to putting the green economy at the heart of the Government’s growth plans.

You can read the Committee’s report here.

Alison Brown

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