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A tax on all forms of energy will be proposed by the Liberal Democrats today, maintaining the party's distinctively green stance, despite criticisms that it would hit people on lower incomes. Matthew Taylor, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, will restate the party's commitment to a "carbon tax" on all forms of energy which contribute to global warming, caused by the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere.

The proceeds of the carbon tax would be used to cut employers' National Insurance contributions, described as a "tax on jobs", and VAT. The Liberal Democrats voted with Labour to defeat the rise in VAT on domestic gas and electricity two years ago, to charges of hypocrisy that their carbon tax would have the same effect as the Government's proposal.