‘Stop threatening more taxes’ Tory MP turns on Rishi Sunak as cost of living set to soar

China and Russia slammed by Mark Dolan over COP26 snub

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Tweeting on Wednesday, Sir John said the Treasury “keeps threatening more and new taxes. We need to promote a better recovery which means encouraging jobs, investment and business, not taxing them more.”

New taxes levied on cars and gas bills will be needed if the UK is to reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the Treasury warned on Tuesday.

The £37billion a year that is raised through taxes on polluting vehicles is expected to disappear in the next three decades, meaning other “motoring” taxes will be needed to fill the hole in public finances.

It comes as UK consumers are facing a higher cost of living, despite a marginal decline in inflation compared with last year, when the Eat Out to Help Out scheme kept restaurant costs low.

It forecasts that the Government will need to invest half a trillion pounds to convert the economy to a greener one.

The analysis by the Treasury follows the publication of the Government’s plan for tackling climate change – or “Build Back Greener” – ahead of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

Included in the plans, published Tuesday, are an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and using only clean energy to power the National Grid by 2035.

The Government has pledged to give £620million in grants for electric vehicles and charging points on the street.

Carmakers will be required to sell a proportion of eco-friendly vehicles each year, and the Government has promised an extra £350million to help the automotive supply chain move towards electric.

The Government is also offering £120million to develop small modular nuclear reactors that can be factory-built and provide nuclear power without the financial commitments of a full-scale reactor – a possibility being advocated by Rolls Royce.

Homeowners will be able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to install low-carbon heat pumps to replace gas boilers.

The Government will offer an extra £625million to triple the amount of trees planted each year, and £140million for carbon capture and storage to produce hydrogen in Teesside and Humberside.

The Treasury report stated: “Overall, a successful and orderly transition for the economy could realise more benefits-improved resource efficiency for businesses, lower household costs, and wider health co-benefits – than an economy based on fossil fuel consumption.”

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The final bill for the switch to a green economy could be “well over” £1trillion over 30 years, Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, told BBC Radio 4 yesterday.

Any new tax rises would be politically challenging for the Prime Minister, who has already faced unrest from Tory backbenchers over new taxes introduced to pay for coronavirus pandemic measures.

The UK tax burden is now at its highest point in 70 years, casting doubt over the notion that the Conservative Party is the party of low taxation.

However, the Government argues that the impact of inaction over climate change would far outweigh any financial impacts of making the UK economy greener over the next three decades.

In the report, the Treasury states: “The costs of global inaction significantly outweigh the costs of action.

“Higher temperatures and an increased prevalence of extreme weather events could lead to reduced productivity growth in the UK and significant damage to UK capital stock.”

Boris Johnson has made climate change the focus of his agenda as the UK emerges from the pandemic, with the Cop26 summit next month the centrepiece.

Devoting an entire speech to the UN Assembly to climate change last month, he said that he hoped the conference would be a moment “we choose to grow up”.

Mr Johnson added that the human race was approaching a “critical turning point” when “we must show that we are capable of […] finally taking responsibility for the destruction we are inflicting, not just upon our planet but ourselves.”

However, his Build Back Greener plan may not go far enough in some areas, with measures to tackle air travel and meat consumption conspicuously missing from the proposals, despite Government advisers saying such measures are needed.

And the Cop26 summit may be limited in what it is capable of achieving, as the premiers of the world’s most polluting countries look to snub the meeting.

The Queen was recorded saying at the opening of the Welsh Senedd last Thursday that “I still don’t know who’s coming” to Cop26, adding: “we only know about people who are not coming”.

In a rare intervention, the Queen publicly urged political and business leaders to do more to tackle climate change.

“I am proud of how the United Kingdom is seeking to secure a sustainable future”, she said. “Yet there is still much more to do.”

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