HC Deb 09 November 1999 vol 337 c476W
Dr. Kumar

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises in manufacturing of the introduction of the climate change levy; and if he will make a statement. [97640]

Mrs. Liddell

The Government believe that small and medium-sized enterprises also have a contribution to make towards reducing greenhouse emissions. Their initial proposals for the climate change levy reflect Lord Marshall's conclusion that a tax could help improve energy efficiency in small and medium-sized enterprises. The Government are seeking to design and implement the levy in a way that maximises the environmental benefits, while at the same time safeguarding the competitiveness of business of all sizes.

The Government have previously announced that £50 million per annum of the anticipated revenues from the levy will be used to provide energy efficiency advice for business, including small and medium-sized enterprises; as well as for increased support for renewable sources of energy and a "carbon trust" to develop low carbon technologies. This represents a step change from previous levels of funding. The Government are preparing proposals on the details of these arrangements and expect to make further announcements in due course.

Dr. Kumar

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will assess the effect the climate change levy will have on UK industrial competitiveness relative to that of(a) Belgium, (b) Norway and (c) Sweden; and if he will make a statement. [97860]

Ms Hewitt

The Government aim to design the climate change levy in a way which safeguards the international competitiveness of UK business.

The United Kingdom is not alone in having to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nor in using economic instruments to do so. We expect that, on current projections, most OECD countries will have to introduce new measures of one kind or another in order to meet their Kyoto obligations. Governments are considering the policies and measures which they will need to deliver these commitments. This will take account of their various national circumstances, including existing fiscal regimes.

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