Olivia Blake MP criticises the Treasury for a “lack of co-ordination or leadership” over the climate emergency

29 April 2021

Sheffield Hallam MP, Olivia Blake, has called out the Treasury for neglecting their role in tackling climate change.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has produced a report warning that the Treasury and HMRC have a “limited understanding of the environmental impact” of taxes.

Blake, who sits on the Committee, said: “The scale of the climate emergency we face demands urgent, unprecedented levels of action, and steps to reach net-zero should be a priority for every Government department.

“It is therefore extremely worrying to see such a lack of coordination or leadership from within the Treasury.

“Our report today indicates that time and time again the immediate priorities of the Treasury have outweighed the action needed to support long-term environmental objectives.

“If we are to reach our net-zero goals and make a success of the COP26 summit later this year, the HMRC and HMT must set out a clear, longer-term vision for how it will work to help the UK achieve net zero – including how the tax system, and every tax measure, can help us reduce emissions and curb the worst effects of this crisis.”

Currently, HMRC and the Treasury recognise four environmental taxes which have specific objectives regarding climate change.

The PAC says that the departments have not kept track of other tax measures with environmental impacts, such as tax reliefs to support energy-saving technology, or how taxes affect the consumption of fossil fuels

According to the report, the Treasury was unable to explain to the Committee “how the tax system is used in achieving the government’s environmental goals.”

Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC, said: “The economic revolution required to abandon fossil fuels and reach net zero must be the greatest co-ordinated task, of governments around the globe, in history.

“But the UK government has been blithely issuing ever more ambitious climate targets for years now, with no sign of a roadmap to reach any of them.

“The departments in charge seem stuck in a bygone era, with little sign of the innovative thinking needed to achieve all this.”

Written by Konrad Ostrowski

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