Jamie Stone MP gets cross-party support for temporary scrap of VAT on energy bills
Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has secured cross-party support for his letter to the Chancellor calling for a moratorium on VAT on energy bills through the coronavirus crisis.
The letter comes in the wake of figures from Uswitch forecasting that households could see bills increase as much as £195 a year as a result of spending more time at home to self-isolate.
Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross said: "Right across the UK, people are desperately worried about how they will make ends meet in the face of this crisis. Many already find themselves out of work, on reduced pay or having to rely on Universal Credit. Ensuring people using prepaid meters are not cut off is a first step, but there are many who will need further assistance.
"The very least the Government can do is offer people a break from VAT on energy bills – this would be a quick and effective step which will immediately assist some of the poorest in our society. It will at least partly alleviate the additional financial pressure created by the need to stay at home."
The full letter to the Chancellor, signed by 32 other MPs, reads:
We are writing to you about the possibility of introducing a VAT moratorium on energy bills and products for the foreseeable future.
We welcome your move to implement a VAT deferral for businesses till 30 June 2020, but wonder if something similar could be done for all energy customers. Given that most of us are spending a lot more time at home self-isolating, there is no doubt that our energy bills will dramatically increase. Uswitch estimate that self-isolating could mean an extra £195 a year for individuals on poor-value deals. For many people in the UK, some of whom are hard hit by fuel poverty, a VAT moratorium on electricity bills would be a huge help in the weeks and months ahead.
You have already helped more than four million people on prepayment meters by ensuring suppliers offer them funding support if they cannot top up their meters. As more and more people now self-isolate, it is important that we extend this kind of help, especially to those on the poverty line. I am concerned that it is the poorest in our society who will struggle most with self-isolating if their bills drastically increase because they must be at home.
Many of those with low-income jobs have been made redundant and will struggle to find alternative employment as the crisis worsens, making it harder to pay energy bills – and that’s without those bills being on the increase.
A VAT moratorium would be the most simple way of negating the inevitable increase in energy bills whilst we self-isolate to avoid spreading the virus. We hope you will consider our suggestion. Thank you once again for working so collaboratively to help us all combat this crisis.