GORDON BROWN handed Britain's biggest companies a huge incentive to carry on wrecking the Earth this week. Everyone sensible knows that action is needed over global warming. But, after intense pressure from the bosses, Brown has driven policy in completely the opposite direction.
In his pre-budget statement he announced a £700 million cut in planned pollution taxes to be paid by the dirtiest firms. That will save the privatised steel industry alone £120 million. Chemical firms will keep an extra £88 million, paper manufacturers £30 million, the cement industry £20 million, and food and drink firms £75 million. New Labour's message is carry on polluting, if that's the way to make profits.
Labour has kept all the Tories' anti-union laws. The government allows vicious firms like the rail companies to use the courts to ban strikes, even over safety. But at the first whiff of pressure from the fat cats Labour bends to their will. Car giants Rover, Vauxhall and Ford had threatened to stop buying British components unless the energy tax was changed. They had hinted they might move investment elsewhere.
In Tuesday's statement Brown handed more tax concessions to 'entrepreneurs'. Meanwhile New Labour was set to confirm that pensioners will get just 73p extra a week.