PBR 08: Government misses environmental opportunity

Alistair Darling’s pre-Budget report has put environmental issues on the
backburner and showed ‘it will always take second place’, said an environmental
tax expert.

Frank Sangster, partner KPMG said: ‘This is a missed opportunity. The
chancellor could have used this opportunity to incentivise environmental

‘The government is spending £20bn to stimulate the economy, it would have
been good to see some of that money stimulate environmentally friendly behaviour
such as reducing VAT further on environmentally friendly products, or taxes that
would influence changes in behaviour’ he added.

The government has made amendments to its Vehicle Excise Duty to be
implemented next year, which would have seen heavy carbon emitters hit by a
greatly increased tax bill. The amendments mean that no driver will be charged
more than £30 in a year and according to Sangster some VEDs have even been

‘Essentially the focus has been on fiscal – not environmental –
sustainability issues. Although this is understandable it’s a case of looking at
short term important issues, not long term important issues’ Sangster added.

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