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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Green taxes

It is with a heavy heart that I congratulate Gordon Brown on introducing a small measure of greenness into his taxation regime. I'm still digesting the rest, and working through the verbiage, so I'm only commenting on one area.

At last, at long last, the need to curb air travel has been recognised and a small - very small - step forward has been made. The increase in Airport Passenger Tax is absolutely right, as there is a screaming need to reduce the highly polluting aircraft criss-crossing our skies. The best news is that the Highlands & Islands remain exempt!

The increases are very modest, but at least it is a step in the right direction, and I think that you could easily have quadrupled the APT for first-class passengers without them noticing, after all, the majority are paid for by their companies. As a frequent flier, I know the pollution trail I leave, but I am also aware that short-haul flights are by far the most polluting, whilst long-haul are (relatively) better for the environment.

That the taxes are biased in favour of short-haul is a stupid move, as there is still no real incentive to move onto rail or ferry. That is a serious shortcoming in the tree-hugging credentials of Gordon Green-Brown, and strikes one more of a political pose than a real stance.

Now let me get started on the fuel duty escalator. No I won't; as others will repeated the arguments ad nauseum as will I no doubt in the future.

One simple observation: if the Canary Islands are exempt from VAT, why can't the Western Isles attract the same political concern? Surely, along with RET, that is the easiest way to secure the future of this community.

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