The Treasury has been forced to defend itself after MPs slammed the Government for being “unclear” on what it defines as environmental taxes.
MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee yesterday rebuked Government for its “unacceptable delay” in responding to a report about environmental tax strategy. The Government response to the Committee’s Report was received on 27 January 2012.
The EAC also criticised the Government’s response for being “incomplete”.
Joan Walley, Chair of the Committee said: “The Government has taken nearly seven months to respond to our report, which is an unacceptable delay. It is also unacceptable, after such a long interval, to provide an incomplete Response, which does not address our pivotal recommendation for clarity about what constitutes an ‘environmental tax’ and the need for an environmental taxation strategy. Such a strategy is vital to bring clarity.”
She added: “Our inquiry last year showed that the Treasury was undermining public trust in green taxes by appearing to use them as a revenue-raising tool rather than a serious attempt to change environmentally damaging behaviour. While we continue to wait for an environmental tax strategy, people will not be able to have confidence in the Government’s tax motives.”
Speaking in front of the Committee at a hearing last week, the Treasury’s Economic Secretary Chloe Smith MP said work was still continuing on a definition.
A Treasury spokesperson added: “As the Economic Secretary made clear to the Committee, the Government continues to work on a definition of environmental taxes. The Government remains committed to increasing the proportion of tax revenue accounted for by environmental taxes.”