Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has condemned Conservative MPs after they voted down an opposition motion to reform VAT on energy bills last night. The proposed package would have scrapped VAT on domestic energy bills for a year alongside expanding the Warm Homes Discount to help more people but was defeated, with MPs voting 319 to 229 against the plan. One Conservative MP voted with the opposition and was expelled from the Conservative parliamentary party.
Boris Johnson previously argued that cutting VAT on energy bills would be a benefit to leaving the EU, but has backed away from the policy in recent weeks.
Commenting on the vote, Mr Carmichael said:
“Boris Johnson could not have been much clearer in 2016 that people should expect to see VAT on energy bills cut if we voted to leave the EU. Now he is whipping his MPs to keep bills high and ejecting the one Tory member who stood up to him and backed this tax cut for struggling families. It is funny how these things work – what a difference five years makes.
“If the Prime Minister believes that a VAT reduction on energy is not, in fact, the right way to tackle fuel poverty, I am willing to hear his other solutions. Those who listened to the debate yesterday, however, will be forgiven for thinking that the government has long since run out of ideas or interest. If Boris Johnson is unable or unwilling to confront the growing cost-of-living crisis then he ought to make way for others who are prepared to take it seriously.”