Michela Morizzo analyses UK political polling data
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The Chancellor is under renewed pressure from backbenchers to take action to ease the cost of living crisis. The man in No11 has so far resisted calls to reduce VAT to cut prices for hard-working Britons despite having the power to do so due to Brexit.
The Government was powerless over VAT while still in the EU, with ministers forced to impose the tax by Brussels.
Findings of a survey by TechneUK on behalf of this website found 79 percent of respondents now want ministers to use Brexit freedoms to help cut VAT and help with the cost of living crisis.
Just 15 percent said they did not think the regressive tax should be cut, while six percent said they did not know.
The polling firm asked 1,627 people on June 15 and 16: “Do you think the Government should use Brexit freedoms to cut VAT to help with the cost of living?”
Reacting to the results, Conservative grandee and former Cabinet minister, Sir John Redwood, told Express.co.uk: “Once again this proves the British people are more sensible than some of those in the Treasury.”
The MP added: “It is a scandal that the Treasury is taking more in VAT off us through our domestic heating and at the petrol and diesel pump than their plans for the year.
“They should cut the rate of tax because the prices have gone sky high and the Treasury are raking it in through extra VAT.
“I wanted to lower or remove the tax on domestic heating before this crisis blew up.
“This was one of the things I argued in the referendum campaign that we could do, and now we should do.”
Sir John Hayes, chairman of the influential Commons Sense group of Tory MPs added: “We need to be much more creative with the tax system and I want to see taxes cut to stimulate growth and improve people’s wellbeing.
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“With people struggling with all kinds of bills, a VAT cut is certainly something we should be looking at.”
VAT on fuel bills is charged at a rate of 20 percent, with five percent charged for domestic household energy use.
With prices skyrocketing since the start of the year, ministers have learnt far more in revenue from the charges than originally anticipated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said while campaigning in the 2016 EU referendum that leaving the bloc would allow the UK to scrap VAT on energy bills.
“It isn’t right that unelected bureaucrats in Brussels impose taxes on the poorest and elected British politicians can do nothing,” he said at the time.
However, earlier this year he appeared to rule out cutting VAT.
Mr Johnson said in January that a VAT cut would be a “blunt instrument”.
He added that it would also cut costs for “a lot of people who don’t quite need the support in the same direct way”.
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