Rishi in February: Energy VAT Cut “Would Disproportionately Benefit Wealthier Households”

Rishi in February: Energy VAT Cut “Would Disproportionately Benefit Wealthier Households”

Rishi Sunak has been calling tax cut promises by other candidates “a fairytale”, going as far as to call Truss’s plans to use fiscal headroom to deliver £30 billion of cuts “immoral”. So what was it about the polls stubbornly refusing to move in his favour that caused him to pull off a “screeching U-turn” last night and announce a new policy to scrap VAT on energy bills next year? At a cost of £4.3 billion…

His new proposals will kick in if the energy price cap rises above £3,000, as is expected, allegedly saving the average household £160 by shifting the bill onto the national debt to be paid off by the next generation. Something he claimed previously was immoral. Not only did this announcement tonally represent a change of strategy, it particularly jars with an answer he gave to an audience member during Monday’s BBC debate. Where he repeatedly refused to commit to help until we learnt for certain what the new energy cap will be:

“We’ll have to see what the price cap actually is when we get there, as we heard we don’t know quite where it’s going to be… I think we’ve had this problem where we know energy bills are very volatile and we need to actually now see where they’re going to end up at.”

More awkwardly, in February Rishi took to the Commons to denounce the policy – then suggested by Labour – as it would “disproportionately benefit wealthier households”

“There would be no guarantee that suppliers would pass on the discounts to all customers, and we should be honest with ourselves: this would become a permanent Government subsidy on everyone’s bills, a permanent subsidy worth £2.5 billion every year, at a time when we are trying to rebuild the public finances.”

Last night Liz-supporting MP Mark Jenkinson really stuck the knife in – by tweeting the infamous scene of Theresa May shouting “Nothing has changed!”

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