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Scrap carbon tax George and look after industry The carbon price floor- does anyone really understand why it exists? There have been a few energy policies that have divided opinion, […]

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By Tom Gibson

Scrap carbon tax George and look after industry

The carbon price floor- does anyone really understand why it exists? There have been a few energy policies that have divided opinion, but none that have enraged quite so many.

The carbon price floor is a cornerstone in the Coalition’s grand plan for Electricity Market Reform- key to phasing out old ‘dirty’ generation and essential for ushering in a new age of green energy. However, as more people do the maths, a new spring uprising seems to be on the cards.

This week Consumer Focus slammed the policy and said UK customers would suffer from an extra £278 million added to their bills from the first year alone. The group also projected an increase of 30,000- 60,000 people would be forced into fuel poverty.

Now an analyst from the Centre for Policy Studies has got involved in the argument and has gone straight to the top, calling on Chancellor George Osborne to “play a bigger role in energy policy.” Isn’t it time UK businesses got a foot hold during the recession? Not if things stay the way they are.

Tony Lodge of the CPS said the carbon tax would “see UK emissions taxed at £16 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, while the price for carbon on the Continent looks set to remain roughly at just €8 per tonne.”

The tax would clearly put Britain’s industry at a disadvantage if this is the case.

Is a carbon tax going to have the effect of creating hundreds of clean energy opportunities? Maybe. Is it going to punish UK manufacturing and condemn vulnerable members of the public to decide whether they can heat or eat? Of course it will.

Many have called for a change of tact- surely a more EU-lateral approach focusing on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will allow the UK to keep competing with Europe? Energy bills are expected to soar for both industry and consumers. Any emissions savings the UK make will only be cancelled out around the world.

So what’ll it be George? An economy in which Britain can lead Europe out of hard times or a country in which we can only boil the kettle when the wind blows. Except we won’t because it costs too much.