The UK government has been chided today by the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) over its failure to provide clarity on ‘green’ taxes.
The Committee published today the government’s response to its report dating from last July, which analysed the Treasury’s approach to ‘green’ taxes.
The report called for a clear definition of ‘environmental taxes’ and recommended that the government develop a green taxation strategy.
The Committee also criticised the Treasury’s attempts to turn environmental taxation, which should be aimed at changing behaviour, to a revenue-generating enterprise.
But the government’s response to the report is late and incomplete, according to the Committee, as it does not address the first four recommendations.
“The government has taken nearly seven months to respond to our report, which is an unacceptable delay,” says Committee chair Joan Walley. “It is also unacceptable, after such a long interval, to provide an incomplete response, which does not address our pivotal recommendation for clarity about what constitutes an ‘environmental tax’ and the need for an environmental taxation strategy.”
Action on these issues is key to enabling the government to deliver an increasing proportion of environmental taxation and evaluate its effectiveness, she adds.
“Our inquiry last year showed that the Treasury was undermining public trust in green taxes by appearing to use them as a revenue raising tool rather than a serious attempt to change environmentally damaging behaviour,” says Walley.
Public lack of confidence will continue, she says, until the government clarifies its environmental taxation strategy.
For further information:
UK’s carbon price floor could harm industry and consumers, warns committee (26-Jan)
UK organisations raise concerns over the government’s Green Deal (18-Jan)
UK government’s Green Deal could fail, warns committee (21-Dec 2011)
UK government presses ahead with electricity market reform (16-Dec 2011)
06 February 2012