Magazine article Public Finance

Green Gridlock

Magazine article Public Finance

Green Gridlock

Article excerpt

The trouble with U-turns is that they are rarely one-offs. Ministers who correct one mistake inevitably find themselves swamped with demands to reverse a wide range of controversial policies.

So having seen the error of its ways on the 10p tax rate, the government is now under pressure to shelve the already delayed fuel duty increase and review plans to increase taxes on high-emission cars.

Gordon Brown could cave in to these demands and buy himself a little extra time before the next crisis comes along. Or the prime minister could stand his ground and insist that the policies are right both fiscally and environmentally.

But it's not easy being green when the economy is in turmoil and the public are seeing huge hikes in their food, petrol and mortgage bills.

One small consolation for the PM is that the same dilemma faces David Cameron. The Tory leader famously likes to hug huskies and cycle to the Commons. He told us to 'Vote Blue, Go Green.

However, there has been little talk of the environment in the past few weeks. …

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