A dozen Tory MPs voted against lowering VAT on energy bills, despite promising to do so if Brexit progresses
Leading Tory Brexiters used the VAT issue throughout the campaign, saying that leaving the EU would give the UK an opportunity to cut energy bills as it is free from EU competition rights.
At least 10 Tory MPs who voted against Labor’s proposal to cut VAT on fuel bills on Tuesday had promised to cut the tax if the British support Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum.
Boris Johnson, one of the leading Tory personalities at Vote Leave, often cited the example of VAT in the election campaign and previously said: “As long as we are in the EU, we must not lower this tax.
“If we vote to leave, we can get rid of this unfair and harmful tax.”
At the height of the Vote Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and former Labor MP Gisela Stuart, now Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston, contributed to The sun Promises that “fuel bills will be lower for everyone” as Brexit progresses.
They wrote: “In 1993 VAT was levied on household energy bills. This makes gas and electricity significantly more expensive. EU regulations mean that we cannot deduct VAT from these invoices.
“The least wealthy have been hit particularly hard. The poorest households spend three times more of their income on electricity bills than the richest households. As long as we are in the EU, we cannot lower this tax.
“If we vote to leave, we can get rid of this unfair and harmful tax. It is not right for unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to impose taxes on the poorest and for British elected politicians to do nothing. “
On June 14, 2016, 13 government ministers and senior conservatives signed an open letter pledging to abolish VAT on household energy bills.
Signatories included George Eustice, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling, Boris Johnson, Penny Mordaunt, Dominic Raab, Iain Duncan Smith, Desmond Swayne, Theresa Villiers and John Whittingdale.
Mr Grayling wrote a separate letter the next day calling for a special finance bill that would “abolish the 5 percent VAT rate on household energy bills by amending the 1994 VAT bill by the date of the next general election”. .
He said the move was “a huge benefit for low-income households” and would be paid for by “savings from UK contributions to the EU budget”.
In a speech at Vote Leave HQ on May 10, 2016, Mr. Duncan-Smith said, “If we want to lower VAT on fuel to help families heat their homes, we should be able to do so.”
One Tory – Anne Marie Morris – voted in favor of the motion on Tuesday. About 38 Conservative members were registered with “no vote.