Monday, December 11, 2006
The author of the Government’s report on climate change is to quit the Treasury after friends said that he was frozen out of Gordon Brown’s inner circle.Indeed, though his action in returning airport tax to where it was before he lowered it is about as little as could be done while David Milibrain was ranting about the need for massive "green" taxes
Mr Brown’s move to raise taxes on flights and motorists’ fuel were seen as minimum concessions to calls for tougher environmental action and disappointed green campaigners.Brown is often said to be intellectual, at least by comparison with the more more "fellow next door" fellow next door.
One well-placed government source told The Times that Mr Brown had to be persuaded within the Treasury even to take the steps he did, such was his lack of enthusiasm for green taxes.
I may be being optomistic but would not be surprised if, when he comes into his inheritance, he proves to have no time at all for the Luddites & their warming scares.
We also have Brown's protege Kate Barker's review of housing
To bring the real price trend in line with the EU average of 1.1 per cent an extra 120,000 houses each year might be required.This is not quite a pure free marketism but it does, almost uniquely in government circles. acknowledge that the laws of supply & demand apply to housing & that it can only be made "affordable" if we allow more to be built.
The Barker Review’s final report sets out a range of policy recommendations for improving the functioning of the housing market:
Government should set out a goal for improved market affordability.
Additional investment building-up to between £1.2 and £1.6 billion per annum will be required to deliver additional social housing to meet projected future needs.
Introduction of a Planning-gain Supplement to capture some of the development gains that landowners benefit from, to ensure that local communities share in the value of development.
Establishment of a Regional Planning Executive to provide public advice to the Regional Planning Body on the scale and distribution of housing required to meet the market affordability target.
Introduction of flexibility at the local level through the allocation of additional land in Local Development Frameworks, with the release of this additional land triggered by market signals.
Establishment of a Community Infrastructure Fund to help to unlock some of the barriers to development.
Local authorities should be allowed to “keep” the council tax receipts from new housing developments for a period of time to provide incentives for growth and to meet transitional costs associated with development.
Now if he also understands the need for cutting corporation tax & he really ought to by now, then we could have a hat trick. Gordon has been derided for his "dour presbyterian" beliefs but such beliefs are entirely compatible with realism & in many ways more compatible with a commitment to economic success than the "greed is good philosophy" which underpinned Thatcher. Presbyterians are better at saving for the future.
I may be building a house of cards on 2 data & it is certainly true that such things as his pensions stealth tax & general increase in spending don't point that way - but it is quite possible that Blair gave him no choice. We know that Blair did offer him the PMship on condition that we join the Euro which he fortunately turned down. Gordon is certainly brighter than Blair & I think the odds are good he will be a considerable improvement.