Tax to Save The Environment – higher rates of VAT

Posted on

I have already this morning introduced the idea of TASTE - Tax to Save The Environment. And I have suggested the first such tax - which would be VAT on food products made from cattle, sheep and goats.

Here’s another idea: we need a higher rate of VAT on products that are bought to indicate social status, and which contribute to global warming.

What am I talking about? Let’s start with cars with an engine capacity above 1.6 litres (and maybe I am being generous when suggesting that). Or which cost, say, more than £20,000 at present. I cannot see why any such vehicle is necessary. They are, I suggest, just conspicuous consumption, and as a result are not designed to last, which is precisely why they need to be taxed more to save the environment.

And then there are yachts and private planes, which I know have enforcement issues associated with them, but which can be managed by significant additional landing charges if they have not been subject to VAT.

After which there are phones costing more than £300, which are nothing more than jewellery, but which are deeply wasteful by encouraging massive environmental waste as they are simply fashion items, designed to be replaced at a rapid rate.

And consumer durables that are not designed so that all parts can be readily repaired or replaced with ease, and not by the manufacturer, so increasing product life should also be subject to this tax: we need to stop the waste resulting from non-repairable items.

The list can be refined of course, and not all of this is possible within EU law at present (and I am presuming were are going to continue to comply with it, meaning international agreement will be required - but it is, in any case). But my point is, we can reprice these products, and we could do so progressively. And debate on this issue could result in another Tax to Save The Environment. And they are what we need.