Ministers have ‘broken pledge over VAT cuts on energy bills’

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  • Michael Gove
    British politician (born 1967)
  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
Michael Gove (PA Archive)
Michael Gove (PA Archive)

Ministers were on Monday accused of breaking a pledge to cut VAT on energy bills as the Government came under growing pressure to do more to tackle the looming cost of living crisis.

Calls to cut VAT on energy bills have gathered pace in recent weeks as households face a major squeeze when the energy price cap rises from £1,277 to nearer £2,000 in April.

At the same time, people are set to be hit by a 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance and soaring inflation.

Back in 2016, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove vowed to cut VAT on energy after Brexit in a joint article for The Sun during the EU referendum campaign.

But Mr Johnson has since backed away from the commitment, saying it is a “bit of a blunt instrument”. Today Mr Gove also failed to stick by the pledge.

Asked three times by Sky News whether he backed the removal of VAT on energy bills, Mr Gove said: “It’s important we look at a range of options.” Pressed on the issue, Mr Gove added: “I think we should always look to cut taxes where we can.”

Labour seized on Mr Gove’s failure to commit to the VAT cut on energy bills.

Ed Miliband, shadow climate change and net zero secretary, said: “Both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove promised to cut VAT on energy bills. But they’ve broken that commitment.”

The storm over lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street took a new twist today as Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove claimed he could not remember what he was doing on May 20, the date of an alleged Number 10 “booze-up”.

It comes after former senior adviser Dominic Cummings claimed in a blogpost that a probe into a series of alleged Downing Street parties by senior civil servant Sue Gray should be broadened to include an email inviting officials to “Socially Distanced Drinks” that day

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