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UK public failing to pay for pollution


4th December, 2007

The general public is failing to pay the true cost of the pollution it is causing, according green campaigners.

The Labour Government has previously promised to increase taxes on polluting activities in an effort to, in its words, “shift the burden of tax from ‘goods’ to ‘bads’.

However, Friends of the Earth say for the fourth year in succession green taxes, as a percentage of overall taxation, fell again in 2006.

Taxes from pollution now account for 7.3 % of total tax, compared with 9.4% in 1997.

Friends of the Earth's economy campaigner Simon Bullock said recent opinion polls indicated that the majority of the general public supported increases in green taxes, provided other taxes were reduced at the same time.

“Yet again the Government has failed to deliver on its repeated promise to shift taxes off people and onto pollution,” said Mr Bullock.  

“Increasing taxes on fossil fuels is an essential weapon in the Government's armoury for tackling climate change.  And if Alistair Darling [the Chancellor] used these extra taxes to cut those on people and jobs, it would be extremely popular too.  It's time the Treasury played its full part in delivering a low-carbon economy,” he added.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist December 2007


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