Parliament Environment: `No progress on green taxes'

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The Independent Online
THE TREASURY has made no progress in developing much-needed green taxes to boost the environment, an influential Commons committee has said.

A critical report published yesterday by the Environmental Audit Select Committee called on the Chancellor to use next month's Budget to end tax breaks for company cars and give a clear signal on energy taxes for business.

The MPs said that Gordon Brown's pre-Budget report last year made no start in using information from other Whitehall departments to achieve environmentally sustainable growth.

John Prescott's Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has worked up a range of green policies, but the committee was dismayed that the Treasury had failed to treat the issues seriously. The MPs called on Mr Brown to consider taxes on pesticide use, the creation of a Green Taxes Commission, and changes to bus fuel duty to make public transport cheaper.

Crucially, the Treasury had failed to give a clear response to recommendations from Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge that a "carbon tax" for business should be introduced by the Government. It had also failed to give full weight to concerns about the "perverse" system of company car taxation, which rewarded drivers who clocked up more miles.

John Horam, chairman of the committee, said: "The Government's rhetoric is not matched by the reality."

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