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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 12:53 GMT
Voters 'do not trust green taxes'
Plane
Some flights could be included under green tax plans
Most voters believe "green taxes" are more about raising money than helping the environment, a BBC poll suggests.

All three main parties say they want to use the tax system to encourage more environmentally-friendly behaviour.

But the Populus poll suggests they may have a fight on their hands convincing voters there is not a hidden agenda.

Some 62% of those polled said they thought green taxes were just a revenue-raising measure and nearly half were against the idea altogether.

This week the Stern report warned of disastrous consequences if no immediate action is taken against climate change.

We can't wait the five years it took to negotiate Kyoto - we simply don't have the time
Tony Blair

The Stern review claims the world's economy could shrink by 20% while droughts and floods displace up to 200m people.

Prime Minister Tony Blair responded to the 600 page report by pledging urgent action.

"For every 1 invested now we can save 5, or possibly more, by acting now," he said.

"We can't wait the five years it took to negotiate Kyoto - we simply don't have the time. We accept we have to go further."

'Unfair'

Talks are being held on using environmental taxes - a Climate Change Bill is expected to be unveiled in the Queen's Speech next month, the government has said.

Environment minister David Miliband has said any changes to the tax system would be "fair".

But he has stopped short of a commitment to offset any increases in "green taxes" with reductions elsewhere.

Both the Lib Dems and the Tories have also said they back the use of green taxes in some form, possibly including aviation tax and congestion charging.

Both parties stress they would not want to see the overall tax burden increase.

But of the 1,002 people interviewed by Populus on 1 and 2 November for the or BBC Two's The Daily Politics, 45% were against the idea of higher taxes on activities that cause pollution.

This is a similar figure to those polled a month ago, before the Stern report was published.

'Substantial increase'

Nearly 70% said green taxes would unfairly hit poor people, while the rich would continue to drive and fly as much as before.

The Mail on Sunday published what it described as a leaked letter from Mr Miliband to the chancellor, Gordon Brown, calling for measures to reduce car use, a "substantial increase" in road tax, a pay-per-mile pollution tax and VAT on some flights.

The paper said proposals suggest families with big cars could end up paying more than 1,000 a year in additional tax.

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies published on Thursday said green taxes account for a lower share of the UK's total tax take than when the government came to power in 1997. It found green tax receipts had peaked in 1999 but had fallen since then.




SEE ALSO
Green tax take 'lower than 1997'
02 Nov 06 |  Business
New climate change laws planned
30 Oct 06 |  UK Politics
Tories 'to be responsible on tax'
19 Oct 06 |  UK Politics

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