Sunday, 23 September 2007

David Towns on Green Taxes

My Conservative colleage in the "Unholy Alliance" - young Cllr David Towns - shows himself up a bit by displaying a profound ignorance of the nature and purpose of Green taxes in a letter to the Morpeth Herald this week (20th Sept). It's understandable - the way New Labour (and the John Major government before them) have used the term - anyone could get confused.

Ever helpful - I've submitted a letter clarifying what Green taxation is about - and here it is (just in case the Morpeth Herald don't have room for it):

"Cllr Towns (Morpeth Herald letters 20th Sept) fundamentally misunderstands the nature of Green taxes, but he’s not alone. A well-designed Green tax should be revenue-neutral because people should switch from the activity being taxed to the Greener alternative. Investment up-front (eg in the rail network) should ensure that adequate alternatives are in place before the tax is imposed and any initial revenue would be ringfenced to subsidise alternatives (eg bus services) until usage levels make them commercially viable. I’m as frustrated as he apparently is that New Labour have brought the idea into disrepute by mislabelling some of their stealth taxes as ‘Green’ – and that so-called ‘Green taxes’ imposed by successive Conservative and Labour governments have not been sufficiently punitive (nor linked to resourcing alternatives) to change behaviour. The LibDems are confused too, if they think that Green taxes can be used to reduce income tax. In fact, the only UK example of a real Green tax that I can think of is the London congestion charge, brought in by Ken Livingston (at the time an Independent) with the backing of Green Party members of the Greater London Assembly."

3 comments:

Sue Luxton said...

Well said!

Cllr D J Towns said...

Argh! I see I have fallen victim to the Environmental Thought-Police.

Isn't the internet wonderful?

Nic said...

Not victim surely? Aren't the Tories new willing partners in the Green Movement?

As to Environmental Thought-Police - the threat of climate change to the environment must surely always be in our thoughts.