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Francis is right that we need to look at the relationship between our carbon footprint and our tax system before we completely fry our planet. However, before we start introducing new taxes, we should take a look at the illogicality of some of our existing taxes. Coach travel is far greener than travelling by air, yet unlike airlines (or rail operators), coach operators have to pay excise duty on their fuel. Both coaches and air transport (along with most passenger transport) benefit from zero rating for VAT (for vehicles with a capacity of 10 or more) but taxis have to pay VAT no matter how 'green' they are. It is time for a major overhaul of transport taxes. To get the debate rolling how about starting by getting rid of APD, levying excise duty on aviation fuel and introducing VAT at the standard rate on all passenger transport including aviation?
Down the line and we do not know how long that will be, we will haveelectric planes electric cars and so on. In the meantime what do wedo in regard to aviation? As we have the highest tax in the withworld with APD the suggesting we put more tax on the highest tax inthe world will make people eyes water. The original idea for APD wasin regard to the environment but that soon got lost in the ether, andthe money collected goes down the tax black hole like the rest of thetax. If you want to increase the tax on APD and ring fence it fordevelopment in regard to climate change it will need a new name andbe separate from APD. I doubt if it will come to pass, it will take abrave politician looking for votes to suggest higher taxes onaviation, the tabloids will have a field day with headlines likeflying now only for the rich. A lot of people talk a good game whenit comes to saving the planet, but when it hits them in the pocketthere lies the problem.