NEWS | Sunday, 25 November 2007

Galdes gives green spin to Labour’s consumption gaffe

James Debono

Climate change crusader Al Gore would have seen red watching a Labour commercial claiming that government would collect more taxes as families would “consume more” as a result of Labour’s policy to decrease the surcharge by half.
Since the statement was accompanied by visuals of a spinning washing machine and a hand switching on an electric cooker, one would have assumed that Labour was advocating an increase in energy consumption.
But according to Labour’s MLP spokesperson Roderick Galdes, this is not the case.
The spot claimed that cutting the surcharge by half would cost a future Labour government Lm12 – 15 million, but that the government would collect Lm3 million more from increased consumption.
Yet, judging by Labour’s environment spokesperson Roderick Galdes, the MLP was not referring to an increase in energy consumption but to an increase in consumption in general.
Galdes suggests that the extra Lm3 million in government revenue will not come from an increase in energy consumption, but from extra revenue from VAT and consumption taxes.
In fact the Lm 3 million increase in tax revenue amounts to nearly 18% of the Lm 15 million reduction of the surcharge envisaged by Labour.
According to the Labour spokesperson, with a 50 per cent reduction of the surcharge, the income of families available for ordinary consumption will increase correspondingly.
Since the extra money will be spent on consumption goods, the “extra” spending will be subject to consumption tax, which will go back to the government’s coffers.
Galdes also claims a reduction by half of the surcharge to consumers will have no impact one way or the other, on levels of consumption of energy.
Asked how Labour would encourage energy saving, Galdes replied that his party would introduce a number of measures to encourage solar energy.
These include tax incentives for the introduction of photovoltaic and solar fused systems; the installation photovoltaic and solar panel systems on all large government owned buildings and effective transfer pricing mechanism for the supply of electricity to the public grid by photovoltaic systems on private premises.


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