A few thoughts before this blogger goes off to take a well earned rest for ten days or so, and before you ask, I am not going anywhere by airplane merely a trip to the good old British seaside! Given the summer we’ve had I am not sure that this is exactly the right decision from my family’s point of view. I’ll report back my findings at another time!
The story of the week is green taxation. Lots of claims and counter claims about the level of green taxation being levied currently by the government, with estimates ranging from £22 to £29 billion. Now, whilst the claims of how much is being paid out vary, you have to understand that most of these are through the prism of the tax payer’s allowance. However, perhaps even they have a point and the Telegraph headline of “all stick and little carrot around green taxes” is probably about right. There is one piece of tax, however, that is a living illustration of how you can use the taxation system to incentivise people to take action in this difficult area (some of you may of heard of it -I would urge you to have a look at it if you haven’t). It is a scheme run by British Gas and thirty odd councils up and down the country of varying sizes and political persuasions. The deal is you get a rebate depending on the energy efficiency measures that you undertake in your home. The results have been quite dramatic with conversion rates somewhere over 50 per cent (what that means in English is that half of the people are doing stuff!). In this notoriously difficult area that is a real result and it would actually only cost the government about £100 million, which is money in the margins in terms of treasury budgets. Remember that figure of £29 billion to roll this out nationwide. I urge you to give a thought to those councils who are already using the tax system, albeit in a way that the newspapers haven’t picked up on. See you soon when I get back from hols.