Far be it for me to offer advice to the Tories but here\’s what they should really be saying.
A range of measures designed to penalise motoring and other polluting activities has been put on hold amid fears that it would alienate working families feeling the pinch as the economy slows.
Senior strategists admit privately that initiatives prepared by the Tory leader are unlikely to see the light of day, including raising taxes on short-haul flights and on larger cars.
No, not that. Rather than being defensive (ooooh, no, we can\’t do this while people are hurting) go on the offence. Tell people what green taxes are really all about.
There\’s an optimal level of green tax, a perfect level. Yes, of course, polluters must pay for the pollution they cause. But they should only pay for the pollution they cause. 11 p on a litre of petrol is what is needed for a driver to pay the costs of their emissions. As we all pay much more than that already, we will cut fuel duty by 12p when we come to power. Higher excise duty on cars is not sensible, as drivers are already paying for their pollution.
Air Passenger Duty already pays the cost of flight pollution. So when the EU ETS scheme extends to flights, we will abolish APD.
This plan has a number of merits: it\’s different, for sure, marks out the party. It\’s bold, no one\’s going to forget it. But most of all it\’s actually true, and arguments based upon truth would be nice to see in politics, don\’t you think?