Could an environmental export tax help protect uk jobs?

Following the shocking news of the closure of the SSI plant at Redcar with the loss of 1,700 jobs, could further jobs be protected by calling for the Government to introduce an Environmental Export Tax to:

  • reduce the mileage that waste journeys rack up during travel to foreign facilities
  • protect UK reprocessing/manufacturing
  • protect communities that are heavily reliant on such businesses

Based on cost per tonne this tax would be set as a percentage of the realiseable value of the material in question -  it's simple to verify as the sales invoices from the UK exporter will indicate the correct tonnage and the agreed price .  For exports within Europe, the percentage tax burden would be lower (e.g. 10%) than ‘outside Europe’ (e.g. 15%) thereby reflecting  the additional mileage and resultant environmental impact. The tax receipts could then be re-channelled into sustainability projects e.g. fighting climate change.

A tax such as this would help UK reprocessors be more competitive and far more able to withstand a drop in commodity values thereby protecting UK jobs.

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