Green Party in England & Wales
Green Party response to budget
- Does not go far enough: green measures too little too late
- Is too business-friendly: corporation tax remains unchanged - tax burden remains on individuals relative to business
- Borrowing plan is mortgaging our future
Keith Taylor comments on today's budget:
"This is not the budget we need - it's a short term budget that thinks no further than the next ballot box. Attempts to tackle climate change must be at the very centre of a longer term economic and taxation policy. The way we tax should seek to change people's behaviour. We need radical changes in the way we run our economy, the way we measure human welfare and how we
produce and consume goods and services.
"Banding of vehicle excise duty is gesture politics in response to the growth in the number of SUVs. The new top rate of £210 is only £45 more than the existing maximum. It's about half a tank of fuel and will simply be no deterrent to drivers. The government's Sustainable Development Commission reckoned a difference of at least £300 would be what's needed to make a real difference. But Gordon Brown has fallen well short of this, and it goes to show he's not really serious about cutting carbon or airborne pollution.
"We call for the return of the fuel-duty escalator, scrapped after the fuel protests, so that petrol and diesel become progressively more expensive year by year.
"The Climate Change Levy is to increase only in line with inflation, which is not enough to significantly reduce emissions by industry. The government should expand the levy to take into account the domestic sectors energy use, and immediately begin the process of introducing a system of domestic tradable energy quotas (TEQs) which would force business to become more
efficient by making consumers choose lower-carbon-intensive goods and services.
"This amounts to a business-friendly budget. The following measures are all effectively subsidies to business from the public purse: R&D tax credit; Enterprise capital fund; Scholarships to US business schools for young British entrepreneurs and Real-estate investment trusts.
"Corporation tax remains unchanged, continuing the pattern of putting a heavier burden of taxation on individuals relative to business. The Green Party would like larger companies earning profits greater than £1.5 million to pay tax at a rate of 40 per cent, this would encourage smaller businesses.
"We welcome the increase in the threshold for inheritance tax to £325,000 but believe the rate of taxation should be levied according to the wealth of the person inheriting not the person bequeathing the inheritance.
"There was no mention of greater investment in public transport - an essential to improve our ailing infrastructure and ensure it is easier for people to make the right choices when travelling. Where is the taxation to limit aviation? Air transport is the fastest growing carbon emitter, and it's tax-free. Whatever happened to the polluter pays principle?
"The 'green' measures mentioned such as further support for home insulation should have been brought in after the last energy review, and again do not go nearly far enough. The government are playing catch up.
"Gordon Brown is mortgaging our future. We are about to embark on another programme of massive borrowing - some £30 billion, but are also set to replace the unnecessary Trident Nuclear Weapons system at a cost in the region of £20 billion. The UK are looking at £55 billion bill - and rising - for decommissioning of our current nuclear power stations, a figure that
is clearly hitting the UK economy hard, but again the government look set to embark on a new round of this exorbitant and dangerous technology.
"In short this budget is about tinkering around the edges and currying political favour rather than making the radical fundamental shifts desperately needed in the way we run our economy.