I have received several letters from hon. Members, on behalf of their constituents, on this matter. In my replies, I have assured them that the Government have no plans for such a tax.
Has my right hon. Friend had any discussions with other countries? Clearly it would be uncompetitive for our energy-using industries to pay a tax on carbon fuels if industries in competitor countries did not do the same.
We are active members of the intergovernmental panel on climate change which is due to report on these matters by the middle of next year and will be taking a view about whether international initiatives can be taken. My hon. Friend is right; for us to put ourselves at a disadvantage by making a totally individual gesture would be pointless. We are active supporters of the IPCC and will work hard to make sure that it comes up with some worthwhile schemes.
There is a local tax in the form of a tonnage extraction rate. Will my right hon. Friend undertake to publish, for each coalfield and each opencast mining operation, the amount of tonnage rate that is paid?