Nearly two weeks ago ConHome predicted that the Tory leadership’s plans for green taxes would be suspended. The story was hotly denied by the Treasury team but Conference suggested that our story was broadly accurate. Neither George Osborne nor David Cameron mentioned replacement taxes in their speeches and good thing too. An already stressed British economy doesn’t need any new taxes.
I took part in a Q&A with Oliver Letwin on Monday – chaired by Steve Richards of The Independent. Oliver insisted that there had been no retreat from the principle of the policy but didn’t name any specific green taxes that the Tories would levy. I stand by my source and my prediction that the next Tory manifesto will contain no substantial commitment to higher green taxation. If there are to be higher green taxes they should be introduced in much better economic times, when businesses have the ability to absorb them.
The suspension of green taxes does not mean that the environment is off the Tory agenda. The 180mph rail speed link is an important idea and has the capacity to bring Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds into the orbit of the London economic powerhouse. It’s a shame it won’t be online until 2027, however, and I also hope Labour push through the necessary third runway for Heathrow before we assume power. That could be Labour’s goodbye gift to the British economy.
> This is Tim Montgomerie’s third conclusion from the Birmingham Conference. The previous conclusion focused on David Cameron’s continued commitment to tackle the causes of crime.