Green Tax Commission
20. We have argued the case for a Green Tax Commission
to take up new tax issues and provide a focal point for research
And we are pleased to have received support for this proposal
from the Environment Agency and non-government organisations.
The Government's response to our last report stressed that it
had taken an open and consultative approach to its work on environmental
tax issues. Whilst it indicated that it will keep the case for
a Green Tax Commission under review, it stated that it could not
see what a Commission would add to existing arrangements at this
21. Following the Budget 1999 and the progress the
Government undoubtedly made against its own agenda for environmental
taxes and in shifting the burden of taxation we asked the Economic
Secretary whether she saw the process going significantly further.
She responded that she suspected the Government would never come
to the end of the path of righteousness, and that its focus now
is on delivery, with huge programmes of implementation needed
to follow up on the in-principle decisions.
22. In evidence to our Committee we once again received
calls for Government to appraise the case for further environmental
tax measures. These included taxes on fertiliser use, aviation
fuel, peat and incineration; and allowances for investment in
Friends of the Earth particularly called on the Government to
start the debate on future fuel duty rates to apply after the
end of the current commitment to the Fuel Duty Escalator in 2002.
23. In the light of this background we would suggest
that the role for a Green Tax Commission becomes even more clear.
It would be a valuable route to providing an independent assessment
of the lessons to be learned from this round of environmental
tax reform; to research whether the shift in taxation has
gone far enough or whether it should go further; and to make proposals
for further measures or changes to existing measures, and in particular
the future for fuel duty rates.
Conclusions and recommendations
24. We welcome the commitments the Government
has made to environmental tax measures which now demonstrate its
will to deliver against the Statement of Intent on Environmental
Taxation. We consider there is likely to be scope for a further
round of reform in the next Parliament and that a good way to
prepare for that would be to task a Green Tax Commission with
reviewing the progress made and making recommendations for the