Tories would put up green taxes

David Cameron is set to announce plans for reform which would see an increase in green taxes levied and the proceeds used to reduce taxes elsewhere, was his party elected.

The Conservatives’ Quality of Life policy group, headed up by Zac Goldsmith, is due to report on its work this Thursday, and in the run up to the publication the party’s leadership has been drip-feeding the press information on what the report might contain.

Mr Cameron has said that green taxes must be used alongside carbon trading schemes to address the emission of greenhouse gases.

“The pollution that leads to global warming is one of the greatest market failures of all time,” he said.

“As Nicholas Stern’s authoritative report [on the cost of climate change] showed, the likely economic cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action.”

While trading schemes had their place, he said, time was running out and the incentives provided by a tax system that rewarded green behaviour – and penalised the lack of it – must be used to persuade people to act.

“A growing strand of opinion on the right argues that green taxes provide both better environmental outcomes and make more economic sense [than emissions trading schemes],” he said.

Among the taxes likely to be proposed by the Tories’ policy group are a rebate on stamp duty for homes where energy efficiency measures have been carried out, along with council tax and VAT concessions.

They would also seek to ban the sale of household goods which failed to meet energy efficiency criteria.

A ‘showroom tax’ of up to £2,000 would be added to the cost of a new car would be on a sliding scale to discourage people from buying large polluting vehicles.

Sam Bond

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