Green Fiscal Commission

This new Commission was publicly launched on 14 November 2007 and over the next year and half it will be looking in detail at the whole range of issues surrounding green taxes and environmental tax reform (ETR). The Commission’s work will cover four broad areas:

How green taxes/ ETR works

The environmental, economic and social implications of ETR

Attitudes to green taxes and ETR

Communication of Its findings.

The focus on the Commission’s work is greening the UK tax system – that is, moving taxes from ’goods’ like labour, to ‘bads’ like environmental damage. The key to a green tax shift is that it is revenue neutral – tax cuts on ‘goods’ must be balanced by equivalent tax increases on ‘bads’.

The Commission does not have a view on what level of overall taxation is appropriate but considers that a significant shift from taxing ‘goods’ to ‘bads’ could make a important contribution to the cost-effective resolution of environmental problems.

The Commission is an independent body, is not affiliated to any political party and will aim to examine the evidence impartially. Our results will be made public to encourage debate in this area and this website will be updated regularly with our findings.

About the Commission

The Green Fiscal Commission was publicly launched on 14 November 2007 with the press release of the results of an opinion poll on public attitudes to environmental taxation conducted by the British Market Research Bureau. This survey showed 72 per cent of the public support the establishment of such a body with an even higher proportion, 77 per cent, indicating support for the kind of tax shift that would be a central element of green fiscal reform.

The Commission is an independent body and is not affiliated to any political party. The Commission membership includes experts from business, leading academics, senior MPs from all three main UK political parties, three members of the House of Lords, and representatives from consumer and environmental organisations. It is chaired by Robert Napier, Chairman of the Met Office and former Chief Executive of WWF. Its Director is Professor Paul Ekins, head of the Environment Group at the Policy Studies Institute, and shortly to become Professor of Energy and Environment Policy at King’s College London.

Commission work programme

The three work streams of the Green Fiscal Commission are:
The generation of information/evidence on the operation and implementation of environmental taxes;
The generation of information/evidence on public and stakeholder attitudes to environmental taxes;
Targeted and appropriate communication of the Commission’s findings to a broad range of stakeholders and the public.

The outputs from this work will be discussed and shaped at regular meetings of the Commission between now and April 2009.

The Secretariat of the Green Fiscal Commission is provided by the
Policy Studies Institute one of the UK’s leading independent research institutes. The Secretariat consists of:

Prof Paul Ekins, Head of Environment Group

Ben Shaw, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Simon Dresner, Senior Research Fellow

Andrew Venn, Research Officer

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, as the major funder of Green Fiscal Commission; and the Ashden Trust.