Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/536/4179

From The Socialist newspaper, 3 June 2008

Editorial

Target 'ecological' taxes at the biggest polluters

Across Europe, farmers, fishermen, lorry drivers and others have been protesting against increased fuel costs. In Britain, hauliers and their supporters slowly drove down motorways. Motorcyclists in Manchester are planning a similar protest.

In Portugal, Spain and France, fishermen have blockaded ports and refused to take their boats out in a wave of strikes that have hit the industry. In France and Spain oil depots as well were blockaded by farmers protesting at the increased cost of fuel. In Bulgaria bus drivers and lorry drivers took strike action for the same reason.

These protests have caused some panic in capitalist governments across Europe, and are applying pressure on them. Behind the anger is the rapid rise in the price of oil. Crude oil prices have shot up, now standing at over $135 a barrel. The effect on prices at the pump has been dramatic. The International Herald Tribune pointed out that the cost of diesel has gone up in Britain by 40%, before tax, in the last 12 months.

The protests are also against the level of government taxes on petrol and diesel. When the government's 58% tax is added, British diesel is the most expensive in Europe. A 2p a litre increase in fuel tax has been postponed but the government still intends to implement it in October.

Added to this, there is outrage about the government's decision to increase vehicle road tax further than at present, for the most polluting cars. 42 MPs have called on the government to halt this, although some of them do not oppose increased charges, but rather the retrospective element, ie that people who have already bought more polluting cars (that were registered after 2001) did not know when they bought them that they would face a higher road tax.

These road tax increases will not just hit the luxury end of the car market; many ordinary families will be hit too. The government's taxes on vehicles and vehicle fuel are not progressive in the sense of being based on ability to pay. Every vehicle owner, irrespective of circumstances, is forced to pay. Many working-class car, van and lorry owners depend on their vehicles and yet pay a much higher proportion of their income on road tax and fuel than the rich do. So when the government now declares that high fuel and road taxes are needed to combat global warming, they are trying to force working and middle class people to bear the greatest burden of it.

The environment is of great concern to working-class people. But fossil fuels cannot simply be taxed out of existence without alternative energy sources being developed. And it is the super wealthy and the major corporations that are by far the greatest polluters of the planet and contributors to global warming. Rather than forcing working-class people to pay more taxes in the name of the environment, any 'ecological' taxes should be targeted at the biggest polluters, or based on ability to pay, or at least aimed at genuine luxury items rather than necessities.

Trade union leader Derek Simpson and others are right to call for a windfall tax on the energy companies. New Labour raised 5 billion from such a measure in 1997, but are even more in thrall to big business now than they were then, making similar action less likely.

Real choice

It is urgent for the environment that people are given a real choice between using private vehicles and using public transport, as public transport is much less polluting per traveller. A real choice for many people would only be presented through massive government investment into a fully integrated and publicly owned transport system, making it highly accessible for all, at all times and with low fares. This must be accompanied by an extensive programme of research and development into alternative energy sources to the use of fossil fuels.

Unfortunately too many in the ecological movement accept the argument that we only need to change our personal lifestyles to make things better. In other words they blame the individual and do not look at the underlying cause of global warming and damage to the environment, which is that we live under a system that is based on the accumulation of profits by a small minority of people.

When 'ecological' taxes such as higher fuel and road tax are introduced, the rich can still easily afford to travel as they like and to continue to buy and consume all manner of luxurious products. It is only the poor who are forced to cut their travel or consumption of products which add to their 'carbon footprint', including some basic necessities. This is at a time when the pay of working-class people is under attack.

So The Socialist opposes penalising ordinary people with higher taxes in the name of saving the environment. The other large issue raised by the fuel protests, and which was the trigger for them, is the present worldwide price of oil. There are a number of reasons behind this price escalation, which will be analysed in next week's issue of The Socialist. But the solution can only lie in the promotion of a socialist alternative to the greed and unplanned nature of the capitalist market. The top energy companies globally - that are making record profits - must be taken into public ownership, and all energy production, whether presently state owned or private, be placed under democratic workers' control and management.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 3 June 2008:

New Labour's failures: Don't just get angry, get Active


Environment and socialism

Editorial: Target 'ecological' taxes at the biggest polluters

Heathrow protest: Demonstrating against a third airport runway

Cosmetic measures against fuel poverty


Socialist Party workplace news

Belfast Airport workers: The long battle for justice

Come to the national shop stewards network conference

National Shop Stewards Network second conference advert

Union members reject pay insult


Socialist Party campaigns

Don't deport AmDani Juna

Keep our NHS public

Nottingham: Student protests at arrests


Socialist Party review

Engels: A Revolutionary Life


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth against racism

London Youth Against Racism activity

National demo against racist BNP

Students step-up struggle

Berlin: 8,000 school students strike


Housing crisis

Markets cannot end house building crisis

Nationalise Bradford & Bingley


Environment: Nuclear power

Nuclear power: An expensive and dangerous failure


Football

The beautiful game, with beautiful profits for some


International socialist news and analysis

Lebanon - civil war or rule by sectarian landlords

Israel: Olmert will go, but the political crisis will stick


 

Home   |   The Socialist 3 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Taxes:

triangleTrump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

trianglePFI privateers dodge tax

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleHow can Corbyn's programme be implemented?

Tax:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: How we beat the Poll Tax

triangleTurn Carillion crisis into movement against privatisation and capitalism

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Pay:

triangleGerman engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

triangleAfter 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

triangleI'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

Energy:

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangleCourt maintains injunction against fracking protesters

Environment:

triangleMay's "war on plastic" still puts profits before the planet

Oil:

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime

Global warming:

triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: Global Warming - A global threat

Transport:

triangleMerseyrail protest

France:

triangleFrance: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people

Public transport:

triangleSadiq Khan's bus drivers' London licence doesn't go far enough

Farmers:

triangleWhat would a socialist food industry look like?

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

21/2/18

TUSC

Outrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case

21/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

21/2/18

Students

How can students and young people fight the Tories?

21/2/18

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland talks process paralysed

21/2/18

UKIP

Like rats from a sinking Ukip

21/2/18

Newham

Blairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

21/2/18

NHS

Tories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

19/2/18

Election

Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

14/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil youth march for justice

14/2/18

Foreign Aid

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

14/2/18

TUSC

Building support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

14/2/18

EU

What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in

14/2/18

Rents

Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

14/2/18

Public ownership

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

14/2/18

NHS

We can win the fight for the NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999