This does sound pretty weird:
Some facilities must find hundreds of thousands of pounds to settle green tax bills, putting jobs and research at risk.
However, assuming that you think carbon taxation is sensible in the first place, it does make sense.
Across the UK, laboratories will be required to pay around £1m in annual CRC bills to the DECC. Almost all of that will be met by diverting grants from other areas of government, such as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
And that’s the reason why.
We could, obviously, simply release the government research facilities from the requirement to pay such taxes. But that would be a bad idea for two reasons:
1) It would be a subsidy. And we want subsidies to be out in the open. We want to be able to add up what whatever rule or regulation, tax or charge, actually costs us. So we don’t want any hidden subsidies at all. This applies to everything: council house rents should be full market rents, even if that means everyone gets housing benefit. We can then look at the benefit bill and see how much housing the poor costs us. Trains and farmers should pay full whack on fuel duty, even if that means we then have to send them a cheque to compensate. We want to be able to see, exactly, what their subsidy is.
2) We absolutely do not want things run by politicians and bureaucrats to be free of the rules politicians and bureuacrats impose upon the rest of us. It’s our only hope of reducing the complexities, that they have to struggle with their impositions as we do. Note the screams from MPs as their expenses are doled out in the same manner the dole is doled out. Quite bloody right too.
So, yes, weird as it may seem, research into low carbon energy should be paying tax on the carbon emissions of such research.