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U.K. Plans Simpler Carbon Tax to Cut $527 Million Business Cost

The U.K. proposed changes to its Carbon Reduction Commitment tax on emissions that the Department of Energy and Climate Change said will save businesses and public agencies 330 million pounds ($527 million) by 2030.

The government suggested reducing the number of fuels covered by the program to four from 29, cutting the amount of reporting required by businesses, and slashing the amount of time they’ll have to maintain records, the department said today in an e-mailed statement. The proposals are subject to a consultation that ends on June 18.

The Carbon Reduction Commitment has twice been delayed and has been criticized by businesses for its complexity. The program covers 5,000 organizations from big retailers such as Tesco Plc to universities and government bodies, and the Treasury estimates it will raise 3.5 billion pounds in fees in the four years through April 2015.

“We have listened to businesses’ concerns about the CRC and have set out proposals to radically cut down on red tape to save businesses money,” Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said in today’s statement.

In 2010, the government changed the CRC to a tax from a program that redistributed payments among participants according to their performance in cutting emissions. Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said he may replace it with a different green tax in the fall if the government is unable to simplify it.

The changes the government is suggesting today are “far from the bonfire of administration heralded in last week’s budget,” David Symons, a director at the consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, said in an e-mailed statement. “Instead of tinkering with CRC rules and heralding these as significant changes, the Government would do better to really focus on how it can help and encourage businesses to reduce their energy bills.”

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