Scrapping VAT on fuel bills in winter would be huge benefit to families

As we look to the New Year, I doubt the government is short on advice for dealing with the many problems we face.

The Prime Minister isn’t exactly entering the year in a blaze of glory.

He’s alienated his own MPs, fallen out with the voters and is beginning to look like a loser as well someone who struggles with facts and truth.

I doubt he’s interested in advice from me, and to be honest there’s no love lost between us, but for the benefit of all, I feel obliged to point out an area where, if the government acted now, there could be winners all round.

For more than three months energy prices have been rising steadily.

It’s led to 30 companies going bust, forcing customers onto new suppliers who are charging them even higher tariffs.

The bills won’t be coming down anytime soon and Ofgem, the regulator established to protect consumers, has announced it’s planning to raise the cap in April.

Some experts predict increases of 40%, taking household bills to unimaginable levels.

Against this background Labour called, last October, for the Chancellor to cut VAT for six months over the winter period. He refused, despite both he and the Prime Minister having campaigned to cut VAT on fuel if we voted to leave the EU.

Other European countries are cutting taxes right now but despite 5% of all that money we’re forced to spend heating and lighting our homes going straight to the Treasury, the Chancellor refuses to act.

New figures uncovered by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves have revealed that he’s anticipating a £3.1 billion bonus because of the huge price increases.

If he were to cut VAT, for at least the remaining three months of the winter, it would only cost him around £0.5 billion but have a huge impact on families already struggling with rises in food, rent and travel costs.

This government is earning a reputation for always being too slow to act. Why not start the year by doing something we can all agree on and from which everyone would benefit?

Happy New Year!

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