Green credit is given where due: Letter

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Sir: The surge of interest in environmental taxation could have wider implications than Hamish McRae suggests. While much has been made of the potential "win-win-win" links between environmental quality, job creation and innovation that a shift to taxing pollution and resource use could achieve, little connection so far has been made to the fiscal crisis that European governments face in trying to meet the harsh convergence criteria for the single currency.

So far, governments have decided that it is welfare spending that must suffer in the race to the euro. Exploring new avenues for raising much- needed public revenues has been a road less travelled.

The time is now ripe for finding ways to levy taxes from activities that damage the public good - pollution and speculation are obvious candidates - to ensure that the single currency is introduced in a way that preserves the welfare state at a time of increasing poverty and social insecurity.


London SW11