Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, June 9, 1998 Published at 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK


Minister rubbishes tax claims

Mr Meacher says Britain does not recycle enough

The Environment Minister Michael Meacher has denied reports that there will be new taxes on wasteful households, but says there could be tax cuts for people who throw away less rubbish.

He said that claims that the government was contemplating a new tax on rubbish are "absolutely untrue".

[ image: Michael Meacher: no new taxes]
Michael Meacher: no new taxes
Mr Meacher spoke out on Tuesday morning after the Daily Telegraph claimed that as part of a strategy to promote recycling households which produced more waste would be charged more in tax.

The newspaper said that under the proposals in a government consultation paper the new tax would replace the levy charged by councils for rubbish collection.

Mr Meacher said he was publishing a consultation paper on Tuesday in a bid to improve Britain's poor record on waste management.

The UK recycles only about 7% of its household rubbish, the lowest proportion of any European Union country. Mr Meacher said: "There's nothing in this consultation paper which suggests any new tax on waste at all."

Use less pay less

However, he admitted Labour might tie tax rates to rubbish production. The emphasis would not be on raising tax rates for households producing the most trash, but to cut taxes for people who produce less useless waste, he said.

"There's already a tax on rubbish collection and disposal, it's part of the council tax. The problem with that is that it's flat rate, so there's no incentive for anyone to throw away less rubbish or recycle more.

Gillian Shephard asks how recycling will be funded
"So what we are asking people is if you create less rubbish, perhaps you should pay less tax than you do now."

"If everybody then generates less rubbish, and there's no reason why everybody shouldn't generate less rubbish and recycle or re-use more, then everybody can end up paying less," said Mr Meacher.

'Where will the money come from?'

The Conservatives said it was vital to have a proper infrastructure in place if recycling was to be encouraged. But they warned there would be a cost.

[ image: Gillian Shephard: says Labour's instinct is to raise tax]
Gillian Shephard: says Labour's instinct is to raise tax
The Shadow Environment Secretary Gillian Shephard said: "When you are talking about incentives, you first have to put in place the infrastructure in order to encourage people.

"If you are going to put in place this infrastructure, roadside waste collection, a means of sorting rubbish, sifting it, costly collection arrangements in rural areas, special arrangements for the elderly, disabled, large households, remote households, it will cost money.

"Where will the money come from? There are only two sources. One is the council taxpayer, the other is industry. This government has an instinct to tax and regulate. There will be a cost, let's hear about it."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Relevant Stories

09 Jun 98 | UK
Put out your empties

09 Jun 98 | UK
Recycle or pay up plan

Internet Links

Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online