1 March 2000
Input tax not dead

A PESTICIDE tax could still be introduced in the future, despite assurances from the Prime Minister last month that the idea had been scrapped.

A cross-party environmental audit committee report has revealed that Treasury minister Stephen Timms indicated this in a letter to its chairman John Horam.

Mr Timms sought to assure Mr Horam that a speech by Mr Blair to the National Farmers Union did not signal a change in government support to the “polluter pays” approach.

He indicated the pesticide tax could still be introduced in future, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Blair told the NFU annual general meeting last month. that, instead of a tax, the government would pursue a partnership approach with the pesticide industry to introduce voluntary measures.

These mixed signals led the environmental audit committee to accuse the government of getting its policy “in a muddle”.

The committee added that it was “astonished and disappointed” by Mr Blairs decision to shelve plans for the pesticide tax, intended to clean up the environment.