Conservatives to abandon green taxes

In a revealing interview with the Telegraph today, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne sought to distance himself from new green tax proposals put forward by the Quality of Life policy group.  He said:


"We're not going to have taxes on parking at supermarkets because I know that families going to the supermarket and doing their weekly shopping do not need to be taxed or given a car parking charge."


The paper reports that he is also preparing to abandon a proposal to issue all passengers with a "green miles" allowance, under which they would be taxed if they took more than one short-haul flight a year, saying:


"A flight tax that is a tax per plane looks like the best way forward."


If this move away from green taxes is a genuine one, George Osborne is doing exactly the right thing:


    • Polls show that green taxes are unpopular. A YouGov poll earlier in September found that 63 per cent agreed with the statement: “Politicians are not serious
      about the environment and are using the issue as an excuse to raise
      more revenue from green taxes.”


    • TPA research, also published earlier this month, showed that green taxes are already more than covering the cost of Britain's carbon footprint.


  • Replacing Air Passenger Duty with a per-flight tax, provided revenue does not increase, is a sensible move. It would encourage airlines to run planes as full as possible, which is far better than allowing them to run half-empty.


It is also very pleasing to see the Shadow Chancellor re-affirm his opposition to inheritance tax. Inheritance tax is seen as one of the  most unfair taxes in Britain, as recent polls show.


The Party's conference in Blackpool should prove to be an interesting one. We hope that it will finally abandon green tax plans and concentrate on the job of reducing the high tax burden on hard-pressed families and businesses. The TPA's recent poll shows that 44 per cent of the electorate would like the party they support to reduce taxes, including 61 per cent of Conservative identifiers. This is compared with just 6 per cent who would like their party to increase taxes, which may happen if a 2 per cent annual growth in spending coincides with a slowdown in GDP growth.


With a possible election approaching, cutting taxes is a popular political message.

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