James Forsyth

Will Labour try and greenwash the Budget?

Will Labour try and greenwash the Budget?
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It is normally a pretty safe bet that when the Budget comes around, there’ll be increases in the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. These are taxes that you can raise without encountering too much political opposition. Now, though, the public finances are in such a dire state that such measures can’t do much to fill the huge gap between revenue and expenditure. So, what I expect we might see on Wednesday is increases in ‘green taxes’.

This would appeal to Brown because of the tactical dilemma it would cause the Tories. If they accept them, Brown gets away politically with a bunch of tax rises. If they oppose them, Brown will be able to claim that their commitment to the environment was all spin and no substance. (This criticism, obviously, misses the point that the Tories want to use green taxes as replacement taxes, to pull off a much needed shift in the tax burden from work to waste). 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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