Responding to a question from The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole at a press conference on Tuesday, who pushed Mr Johnson on claims that Brexit would mean Britain could scrap VAT on energy prices, Mr Johnson said it was “paradoxical” that such a move could ever be achieved if Britain remained in the European Union. Despite his comments, he did not offer to scrap the unpopular tax.
In an article Mr Johnson wrote in the Sun newspaper in 2016, he said that if Britain left the EU “energy bills will be lower for everyone, EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills and hit the least wealthy particularly hard.”
He went on to claim how if Britons voted to leave the EU, the UK would be able to scrap the “unfair and damaging tax” that is VAT on Energy bills.
But Mr Cole noted: “As Prime Minister, you are refusing calls to cut VAT or scrap VAT on energy bills!
“What has changed or were you misleading voters?”
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Mr Johnson was adamant that “not at all” was he misleading those who voted for Brexit.
But he went to on flip the issue on its head, saying: “I think it is slightly paradoxical that this is now being campaigned for by people who actually wanted to Remain in the EU!
“When it would be impossible to deliver within the EU.”
He also claimed the move would be a “blunt instrument” as it would lead to those that do not need energy bill support seeing their bill prices cut.
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Despite this, the Prime Minister pledged that his Government will “continue to listen” to businesses and consumers about how to cut the cost of energy.
He stressed that he “appreciated the difficulties” that people are facing in light of soaring gas prices but insisted that initiatives such as the Warm Home discount and Winter fuel payments would alleviate that pressure.
Mr Johnson added a £500 million contribution through local government would also help those bracing the cold this winter.
But he stopped short of promising any further action or changes to tackle the soaring cost of energy being levelled at Britons this year.
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The Warm Home discount is a one-off £140 payment to your energy supplier for a discount on your electricity or gas bill between October 2021 and March 2022.
While Winter Fuel Payments are paid to Brits born on or before September 26, 1955 to help them pay for heating bills, those eligible can receive between £100 and £300 to help keep them warm.
Millions of Britons are bracing for massive energy price increases, compounded by the pandemic, Brexit and supply chain issues.
The cost of gas has spiralled across Europe and the rest of the world as demand has soared following the re-mergence of countries out of the pandemic.