£1 billion Carbon Stealth Tax; ‘Big Society’ May Affect Public Transport Fleets
Following the chancellor’s announcement of spending cuts, a row has broken out over what businesses have called a carbon stealth tax. The small print of the government announcement reveals that £1 billion a year raised from companies under the carbon reduction commitment scheme will go straight to the government instead of being fed back to businesses with good environmental performances – apparently without consultation. Considering that the many businesses paid £15,000 just to join the scheme – and significantly more in factory upgrades to compete for the funding – this likely to receive a hostile reception from those predominantly manufacturing business affected.
Today it emerged that £200 million that will be spent on 75,000 new apprenticeships the government plans to cut the £600 million Train to Gain scheme, which subsidises companies to provide adult education. Their argument is that big business can fund its own training programmes.
‘Big Society’ could mean bus fleet opportunities
There were also some suggestions that the changes could result in more opportunities for those looking to supply tyres to privately funded local transport fleets. Dai Powell, chief executive of HCT Group, a £23 million turnover business providing bus services from nine sites across the UK, believes his company could benefit from local authorities’ budget cuts. “I think there will be quite a big role for community transport operators like us as the big society initiative rolls out, particularly in rural areas,” he said.
Business and financial advisers Grant Thornton suggested that the spending cuts to transport were better than originally feared, but the plans continue to favour London over the regions: “The government’s £30 billion expenditure commitment to transport over the next four years recognises transport’s key role in supporting economic growth in the UK,” said Will McWilliams, Partner at Grant Thornton, adding:
“Overall, when [London’s] Crossrail and revenue expenditure on the national road and rail network are taken into account there will still be significant pressure on local government transport expenditure and we estimate that 10 per cent year on year transport expenditure reductions will be required at local government level.”