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Cracks in ‘Green’ consumer conscience when it comes to tax 27.07.07

Figures out from claim half of UK consumers not prepared to pay more tax to combat green issues. One in five air travelers are happy to pay ‘green tax’ on ‘carbon-miles’ air travel, while one in 20 don’t care about green issues at all., the website promoting the benefits of independent financial advice, indicate that despite many UK consumers being prepared to adopt a more ‘green’ lifestyle, 50 per cent are still not prepared to pay more tax to help combat green issues believing they already pay too much tax. At the same time over one in 20 (7 per cent) ‘Green Meanies’ don’t care about green issues at all.

With holiday season now upon us and air travel a major contributor to our ever increasing carbon footprints, only one in five (20 per cent) said they would be happy to pick up the tab for increased tax on air travel.

However all is not lost – when it comes to car travel, almost a quarter (23 per cent) said they’d be prepared to pay more car tax if the money was used to reduce carbon fumes on motor vehicles – despite one in 10 (11%) claiming this to be their most resented tax. And almost a fifth (17 per cent) said they’d be happy to reach into their pockets if the money was used to tackle issues closer to home such as littering.

Those in the 25-34 age range were most open to paying tax on air travel (24 per cent) while almost two thirds (63 per cent) of the 45-54 year-old group were the most reluctant to pay extra tax for green issues (63 per cent).

David Elms, Chief Executive of comments, “Tackling green issues is probably high on most consumer’s wish lists, yet in reality many are not prepared to reach into their pockets to help contribute to the cause, mainly because they believe they are paying too much tax already.”

These figures are inline with ethical consumer demographics, with the highly ethically motivated group, around 20%, prepared to carry the true cost of travel and carbon consumption, and an even smaller group, which they call Green Meanies not prepared to engage with environmental issues at all. However the fact that nearly 50% of the those surveyed are prepared to consider environmental taxes is a major breakthrough. Howvere before the Chancellor of the Exchequer start rubbing his hands with glee it should be noted that these figures also indicated what Consumer International and Accountability’s research report ‘What Assures Consumers on Climate Change?’ showed, that at the moment there is a credibility gap between what people feel is important about the environment and those they have confidence in to actually deliver. ‘What Assures Consumers on Climate Change?’ clearly indicates that there is a deep mistrust of the motivation of politicians and business when it comes to environmental issues.

Peter Shield

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