UK Manufacturers appeal for simplified carbon tax

21/6/2010 Guardian Britain’s manufacturers have condemned the government’s climate change policy as “chaotic, overcrowded and complicated” and are calling …. (for)  an economy-wide carbon tax.The manufacturers’ organisation EEF says a new single levy based on energy usage
to replace the existing mix of climate measures would simplify the system, allow
businesses to budget more easily and encourage them to move towards cleaner
The existing climate change levy has been criticised by environmental
campaigners for not pushing firms far enough to be greener, while companies
themselves say it is not spread fairly and does not provide incentives to cut
In a report published on the eve of Osborne’s budget, the EEF said the
10-year-old climate change levy, introduced under Tony Blair, has failed to
target the right places and is a burden.
The group criticises the levy as being used primarily as a revenue raiser rather
than as a tool to change the way businesses use energy and power companies
produce it.
The EEF head of climate and environment policy, Gareth Stace, defended
manufacturers’ track record as having already made “substantial reductions in
emissions. However, there is … evidence that they are struggling under the
weight of legislation at European and national level, which has produced a
chaotic, over-crowded and complex landscape. We now need a fresh approach. This
will help a vibrant manufacturing sector to make a sustainable contribution to
reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases and continue investing and
creating jobs in the UK,” he said.
The group argues an economy-wide carbon levy that taxes companies and households
according to the carbon content of the energy and fuels they use would provide
more obvious incentives to cut pollution. They say it would also provide
electricity producers with a stronger incentive to invest in low-carbon energy.
The government will face further criticism on its climate change policy from the
Work Foundation today. The group says confusion over regulation and a
proliferation of agencies and bureaucracy is putting the creation of jobs in the
low-carbon economy at risk.
It will call on the government to create a central point of contact on all
matters concerning the low-carbon economy to cut through the confusion and help
boost industry thereby creating demand for highly skilled jobs in the future.
Charles Levy, a researcher in the group’s knowledge economy programme, said:
“The lack of business and investor confidence is a major obstacle … [and] a
key cause of this is a lack of clarity and commitment from the government. It is
still failing to offer confident leadership.”
His report, published today, echoes the EEF’s call for greater transparency to
incentivise businesses.”A hugely complex web of monetary flows, regulatory
activities and confusing lines of accountability has developed among dozens of
public sector organisations that decide how to spend the cash,” says Charles
Levy, a researcher in the group’s knowledge economy programme.
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