PracticeConsultingFDs split over clean-up bills.

FDs split over clean-up bills.

Big Question: Should businesses pay to clean the environment?

Finance chiefs are equally divided over whether UK industry should pick up a larger bill to cover the cost of cleaning up the environment, this week’s Accountancy Age survey reveals.

More than 400 FDs asked in the Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question whether they wanted to see business pay more tax to clean up the environment voted 44% for and 44% against, with a further 12% expressing a neutral opinion.

The split down the middle of UK business emerged as deputy prime minister John Prescott this weekend stormed out of collapsed international gas emission talks.

Industry leaders, including the Confederation of British Industry, this month also attacked chancellor Gordon Brown for failing to extend tax discount eligibility in the pre-Budget statement on the proposed climate change levy, which will tax industry on the amount of energy its uses.

FDs both for and against targeting business with extra environmental taxes agreed that pollution-causing businesses should pay to clean the environment.

One anonymous FD said: ‘Hitting UK business is fairly pointless as long as the US (and other governments including the UK) show no interest in addressing the fundamental problems.’

Another FD responded: ‘As an FD of a company definitely not – but, as a father of three, yes.’

Next week: should staff be allowed to drink alcohol during the working day?

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