Tory MPs vote down plan to cut VAT on energy bills - despite 26 'being in favour'

By Pippa Crerar

Tory MPs voted down Labour's plans to cut VAT on energy bills last night despite pressure on the Government to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Just one Tory MP - Anne-Marie Morris - backed the non-binding motion for a debate on the issue meaning it was defeated by 319 votes to 229, majority 90.

Yet more than two dozen Tory MPs have in recent years pledged to scrap the tax off home energy bills, including Boris Johnson himself.

Treasury minister Simon Clarke said the Government "recognises the pressure" Brits are facing and would "look closely" at all options available.

The PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are, however, understood to be in talks to cut the VAT on energy bills to lessen the blow once the price cap rises on April 1.

Boris Johnson on a visit to an offshore wind farm - he has U-turned on pledges to cut VAT (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Johnson has previously described the proposal as a "blunt instrument" and is likely to settle on a mixture of measures to help consumers.

It comes after Britain’s third-largest energy supplier Ovo Energy was forced to apologise for advising households to "cuddle pets", "eat porridge" and "do star jumps" to keep warm.

Scroll down for the full list of 26 Tories who previously backed a VAT cut

A temperature dial on a radiator at a home (ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Labour wants to impose a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers to fund measures to ease the cost of living squeeze, by reducing the average household energy bill by £200.

Fossil fuel giants would be forced to contribute £1.2bn to help fund the proposals, through a year-long increase to their corporation tax of 10%.

The £6.6bn plan would also include removing VAT on domestic energy bills for a whole year, as well as expanding and increasing the warm homes discount to 9.3 million people.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: "The Prime Minister seems to think that the cost of living crisis is when you can't find a friend to pay for the luxury refurbishment of your flat.

"But for working people in our country, a cost of living crisis means struggling to pay your gas and electricity bills."

Mr Clarke said: "No-one in this Government is under any illusion about the challenges families are facing with their household finances and we will of course continue to look closely at all the options that exist."

26 Tories who have previously appeared to back a VAT cut, according to Labour research

  • Michael Gove, 31/5/2016: "When we Vote Leave, we will be able to scrap this unfair and damaging tax."
  • Boris Johnson, 31/5/2016, 5/6/2016, 3/10/2019: "When we Vote Leave, we will be able to scrap this unfair and damaging tax.", "Such as on cutting VAT on the cost of fuel for elderly people, which is a huge burden", "Yes. Not only will we be able to reduce VAT in the UK, but we will be able to do it in Northern Ireland as well."
  • Robert Halfon, 3/10/2019,12/11/2020, 23/09/2021: "Once we do the deal and leave the EU, we will gain control of our tax rates and be able to reduce VAT and energy bills for our hard-working constituents?", "During the Brexit campaign, my right hon. Friend wrote an article in The Sun stating that we would be able to reduce VAT on energy bills, saving the taxpayer a considerable amount of money per year. Can he set out the progress we are making on that and confirm that we will be able to cut VAT on energy bills, therefore cutting the cost of living for hard-pressed families across the country?", "to reduce VAT on energy bills, as was pledged by those who supported Brexit in the EU referendum."
  • Andrea Leadsom, 9/6/2016: "We are unable to get rid of VAT on fuel bills because the EU prevents us from doing so. Despite fuel poverty"
  • Andrew Lewer, 4/1/2022: "VAT on energy bills should be removed to combat rising costs nationwide."
  • Priti Patel, 14/6/2016: "We have said that we would spend British taxpayers’ money on a range of priorities including the NHS and in particularly as well on [cutting] VAT on fuel. So those are the two areas that we have said we will spend that money on.”
  • Steve Baker, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • David Jones, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Julian Knight, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Anne Marie Morris, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Andrew Bridgen, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Scott Benton, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Damien Moore, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Mark Jenkinson, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Karl McCartney, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Marcus Fysh, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Lee Anderson, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Philip Davies, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Greg Smith, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Adam Holloway, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Craig Tracey, 2/1/2022: “the removal of VAT on domestic energy… would be a step in the right direction”
  • Esther McVey, 2/1/2022: “Government needs to keep the lid on inflation & keep energy costs down starting with removing VAT on fuel bills”
  • Craig Mackinlay, 3/6/2016: Signed the letter of 2.1.2022 “If we Vote Leave, we can cut VAT on fuel. That's more money in the pockets of British families up and down the country #InorOut”
  • Sir Christopher Chope, 23/09/2021: “Why do we not reduce VAT on fuel as a temporary measure? We did it for the hospitality industry, which was badly affected by covid-19. Why do we not abolish VAT for consumers on fuel now?”
  • John Redwood, 8/7/2021: “A bit dearer would be tackling the price of fuel directly by taking VAT off domestic fuel in its entirety, and that too I would welcome, because I think that fuel is expensive in this country and electricity is becoming very expensive.”
  • Dehenna Davison, 9/1/2021, “We can take a simple step to help some of the lowest paid by scrapping this unfair tax on their energy bills… It is about proving that we are on the side of hardworking people… That is why I hope that VAT on domestic energy bills will imminently meet the same fate as Beanie Babies ‑ being resigned firmly to the history books.”


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