In a report foreshadowing the 2000 national budget due on 3 March, the committee levels particular criticism at the government's abandonment of immediate plans to introduce a pesticides tax (ENDS Daily 1 February). It also questions the government's handling of a proposed tax on virgin aggregates, claiming that industry has been left unclear over its own proposal for voluntary measures (ENDS Daily 4 May 1999).
The committee is less critical of the government's proposed industrial energy tax, the climate change levy, although it highlights potential problems with the environment ministry's negotiations with energy-intensive industries over reductions in their taxes (ENDS Daily 22 December 1999).
In a related development, prime minister Tony Blair and his deputy John Prescott met business leaders at a seminar, also attended by EU environment commissioner Margot Wallström, to discuss the challenges ahead and the potential benefits of moving to a low-carbon economy. According to the environment ministry, the economic opportunities of moving to an energy efficient economy were discussed and, in particular, the government reiterated its support for a domestic emissions trading scheme (ENDS Daily 22 December 1999).
Business leaders called for climate change levy reductions or corporation tax exemptions to get a pollution control permit system off the ground. Chris Fay, leader of the advisory committee on business and the environment said: "There has to be an incentive for companies to put themselves on the block by agreeing targets. Without incentives, it will be very hard to get the system going."
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