The Budget: George Osborne to put growth ahead of ‘green crap’

The Chancellor is expected to give in to business demands to reduce penalties for high use of fossil fuel, and that worries environmental campaigners

George Osborne will use his Budget this week to insist he is building a “resilient economy” as he prepares to sweep away more “green crap” – or environmental taxes – to help British industry to sustain the recovery.

The Chancellor, buoyed by news of a dramatic upturn in growth which he will say justifies his continuing commitment to austerity, is expected to ease carbon taxes for energy-intensive manufacturers. Amid renewed talk of Mr Osborne positioning for the Tory leadership, the Chancellor’s moves against green taxes – or “green crap”, as the Prime Minister was alleged to have described them, will be aimed at delighted Conservative MPs as much as British industry.

Mr Osborne is expected to act on business demands to freeze the carbon price floor, which imposes a tax on companies for high use of fossil fuels and came in last April. The CBI says it is restricting the ability of the manufacturing sector to contribute to the recovery. The Chancellor could freeze the tax for as much as four years, a move which will alarm environmentalists because it will lead to increased CO2 emissions.

It follows a scaling back of green levies in the Autumn Statement in December, when Mr Osborne pledged to cut £50 from household energy bills by reducing the energy company obligation.

Yet his Budget on Wednesday will come just 24 hours before Britain takes the lead in Europe to cut carbon emissions across the EU by 40 per cent by 2030. Ed Davey’s presence, as a Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary at the European Council in Brussels, will underscore his party’s insistence that close co-operation with the EU is essential for tackling climate change – two things that are under threat from right-wing Conservative MPs. The meeting comes ahead of a major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the latest scientific evidence on the issue.

Mr Osborne will argue that, despite promising signs of growth, the UK economy needs to be more balanced towards manufacturing exports.

A Treasury source said yesterday: “The Government’s long-term economic plan is dealing with Britain’s debts, helping businesses create jobs and delivering increased security and peace of mind for hard-working people. But the job is not done. Britain is still borrowing too much. To earn our way in the world we have to invest more and export more. We need to back businesses right across the country and in all industries.

“So the Budget next week will continue to tackle the country’s problems head on and will set out what we need to do to build a resilient economy.”

According to a poll for The Independent on Sunday today, a third of people think they will end up paying more tax if Labour wins the election than if the Conservatives win. Nearly six out of 10 voters believe the Government is not cutting spending in a fair way and 63 per cent believe that rich people stand to benefit more than people on middle incomes. Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are more trusted to make the right decisions about the economy than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.

Meanwhile, a report from the Social Economy Alliance, to be published tomorrow, presents alarming findings that Britons have poor levels of economic literacy. A survey for the organisation found that only 48 per cent of adults say they understand how the economy works, with 56 per cent saying they understand how their spending decisions affect their local economy, and 38 per cent saying business and economic  news stories are not relevant to them. The report, From the Bottom Up, argues for more awareness of social enterprises, run by citizens and communities, that hand economic power to grassroots.

With more widespread knowledge and understanding of basic economics, the report says that people can take action and have more control over how things are run in their communities. It follows an international study in 2010 which found that economic literacy in Britain is behind many industrialised nations.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Executive, London

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Charter Selection: This highly prestigious luxury b...

C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

£30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor