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CentrePiece article

The polluter-doesn't-pay principle


By granting discounts on environmental taxes to heavy polluting firms, the government is missing out on significant tax revenues and achieving considerably less in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That is the central conclusion of research by Ralf Martin and colleagues, which reveals the failings of the UK’s climate change levy. Their study shows that firms that enjoy a discount from the levy, claiming that such measures damage their ability to compete in the global economy, do not in fact face higher risks to their competitiveness. Firms that pay the full climate change levy reduce their energy use and their emissions by more than those that get a tax discount.


Ralf Martin, Ulrich J. Wagner and Laure B. de Preux

21 May 2012     Paper Number CEPCP369

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This CentrePiece article is published under the centre's Growth programme.