Environmental Audit Committee

06 November 2002

The Pre-Budget Report 2001: Accounting for the environment - a new agenda?

On its creation the Environmental Audit Committee surprised many by holding an inquiry into the Government's 1997 Pre-Budget Report.  Since then, the regular appraisal of the tax and spending process has become a central feature of its work in holding the Government to account for its commitment to place the environment at its heart.

This month we expect to see the first Pre-Budget Report of the new Parliament.  The Committee intends to take this opportunity to take stock of where we stand on the process of environmental tax reform which the Government committed itself to in the 1997 Statement of Intent.  It plans to take evidence from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in early December.

Memoranda are invited from interested organisations on the Pre-Budget Report 2001 and sustainable development.   Submissions should be sent or e-mailed to the Committee by 28 November.  

Copies can be faxed or posted upon request.

For further information on the dates and times of  Select Committee meetings, please telephone the Committee Information Line on 020 7 219 2033

Inquiry Themes

Issues and topics on which we would be particularly interested to receive comments include:

  • The Government's progress to date in its programme of environmental tax reform.

  • The consistency of the Government's approach, and specific areas where further progress may be made (eg the scope for more comprehensive "greening" of the corporate tax system, or fiscal incentives for brownfield development).

  • The balance to be struck between fiscal, regulatory, and voluntary environmental initiatives.

  • The development of resource productivity indicators and environmental accounts, and the scope for incorporating these within the Pre-Budget Report.

  • The adequacy of environmental appraisals included in the Pre-Budget Report, and also ways in which appraisals of non-environmental policies can be improved.

  • The role of the Treasury in actively researching and developing this agenda.

Organisations may wish to note previous reports in this area by the Environmental Audit Committee, including:

Second Report, 2000-2001 HC 71, The Pre-Budget Report 2000: Fuelling the Debate

Sixth Report, 1999-2000 HC 404, Budget 2000 and the Environment

Fourth Report, 1999-2000 HC 76, The Pre-Budget Report 1999: Pesticides, Aggregates and the Climate Change Levy.

Eighth Report, 1998-1999 HC 326, The Budget 1999: Environmental Implications

Fourth Report, 1998-1999 HC 93, The Pre-Budget Report 1998

Third Report, 1997-98 HC 985, The Pre-Budget Report: Government Response and Follow-up

First Report, 1997-98 HC 547, Pre-Budget Report