Magazine article Public Finance

Letters

Magazine article Public Finance

Letters

Article excerpt

The curse of the carbon traders

The Liberal Democrats' environment spokesman, Chris Huhne, says that his party will aim for a carbon neutral Britain by 2050 ('How green is my manifesto', September 14-20).

Part of this involves doubling investment in railways, to be 'paid for by tolling lorries on motorways'.

The government in July 2005 indefinitely postponed plans for tolling lorries. It is believed that this was because of the high running costs of such a system. To produce a net income of billions of pounds would require a very high level of tolls. The result would be that many lorries would avoid the motorways, as they already avoid the M6 Toll road.

But perhaps the most important question is why all the major political parties are concerned about the claimed warming effects of CO2 emissions but are ignoring the pressures of population growth?

The US Census Bureau estimates that by 2050 the world population will be 2.8 billion higher than it is today. That is 2.8 billion more people needing space and resources to live, work and grow food in. They will also, of course, all be breathing out that dangerous gas - CO2. Or will everyone need carbon trading certificates for the right to breathe by then? If so, let's hope that there are not too many bookkeeping errors.

JOHN McGOLDRICK

Co-ordinator for the National Alliance Against Tolls, Wirral, Merseyside

Making a local income tax work

According to the Edinburgh-based Policy Institute, the proposed Scottish local income tax would 'damage local government, undermine the property market and force high earners to leave Scotland' ('Scots tax plan "would cost £1.3bn'", News, September 28-October 4).

That is questionable, but it is true that voters below the income tax threshold would be able to demand unlimited local services in the knowledge that the extra cost would be met by everyone else.

This could be avoided if all Scottish income tax were collected nationally as now, but a rate of, say, 5p in the pound was assigned to the local authority for the taxpayer's home address. …

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