Boris Johnson comments on energy crisis
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This is despite Boris Johnson vowing to cut VAT from domestic fuel bills during the 2016 Brexit campaign by Vote Leave. His backtracking will spark fury in the Tory ranks after 20 Conservative MPs rallied to demand he step in to assist households facing huge hikes in energy charges. Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, behind a letter to the Daily Telegraph, said he was “disappointed” Mr Johnson seemed to be “robustly against” slashing VAT on energy bills despite it being a “backdoor tax on the ‘just-about-managings’”.
He told the newspaper said: “VAT should be cut permanently as a Brexit dividend.
“Heating your home is as much of a right as buying children’s clothes. We don’t do it for fun. It’s a basic right and need.”
But speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Tuesday the Prime Minister said scrapping VAT was not the most effective way to help those under the greatest pressure.
He said leaving the EU meant Britain now enjoyed the freedom to set its own VAT rates.
Mr Johnson said: ”It’s slightly paradoxical that this is now being campaigned for by people who actually wanted to remain in the EU and still do when it would be impossible to deliver within the EU.
“I’m not ruling out further measures.
“The argument is that it’s a bit of a blunt instrument.
“And the difficulty is that you end up also cutting fuel bills for a lot of people who perhaps don’t need the support in quite the direct way that we need to give it.”
Earlier the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said ministers would consider any proposals, but warned that the reasons for the rise in energy prices was global.
Mr Johnson’s decision comes despite his comments in 2016 where he vowed alongside Michael Gove and former Labour MP Gisela Stuart, now Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston, to “scrap this unfair and damaging tax”.
They said: “In 1993, VAT on household energy bills was imposed.
“This makes gas and electricity much more expensive.
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“EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills.
“The least wealthy are hit particularly hard.
“The poorest households spend three times more of their income on household energy bills than the richest households spend.
“As long as we are in the EU, we are not allowed to cut this tax.
“When we Vote Leave, we will be able to scrap this unfair and damaging tax.
“It isn’t right that unelected bureaucrats in Brussels impose taxes on the poorest and elected British politicians can do nothing.”
According to some predictions, energy bills could be hiked by more than 50 percent in April for millions of households that are on a standard tariff.
In April the price cap, which limits the amounts that suppliers can charge, will rise.
It is currently at an already record-beating £1,277.
But analysts at Investec think this could go up to £1,995 in April.
The rises are due to a major spike in global gas prices, which have been pushed up by high demand around the world.
Trade body Energy UK’s chief executive said last month that the Government could cut each household bill by £90 by slashing taxes or VAT.
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