Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Brown fails the environment - again

Despite his promises to make this year's Budget a 'carbon budget', Chancellor Gordon Brown has failed yet again to provide an adequate Budget response to the threat of climate change. In summary, he will:
  • Freeze fuel duty increases until September
  • Apply a zero road tax rate for the "most environmentally friendly" cars and a new rate of £210 for the 1% highest carbon emitters
  • Retain home insulation grants to ensure a quarter of a million extra homes would be insulated over the next two years
  • "Plan to" index the climate change levy in line with inflation from 2007 to cut CO2 emissions further
  • Set up a new £1bn energy and environmental research institute, funded by government and private industry
  • Introduce new incentives for piloting smart metering and a new labelling scheme for energy efficient goods to make homes greener
He failed to:
  • Take any steps to curb the increase of emissions from the growth in aviation
  • Introduce nationwide council tax rebates and cut stamp duty for low-carbon, energy efficient homes to encourage householders to be more energy efficient, and install micro-generation systems
  • Reduce VAT on home insulation
  • Introduce tax breaks, grants and other incentives for householders to install micro-generation systems
  • Set an annual carbon budget
Environmentally, his Budget is a failure.

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