A row has erupted over whether Rishi Sunak has reneged on his promise not to cut taxes after announcing he would cut VAT on energy bills.
It former chancellor if he becomes the prime minister. he would implement a temporary measure to save the average family £160.
During his campaign to become Tory leader, he repeatedly said he wanted to delay tax cuts until inflation was under control, while calling other candidates’ tax cut plans irresponsible.
He also opposed energy VAT cuts when he was chancellor, telling the House of Commons in February: “That policy would disproportionately benefit wealthier households.”
But he said on Tuesday night that with the energy price cap now expected to rise slightly from £2,000 a year to above £3,000 in October, more help was needed to reduce the cost of the vital crisis.
While Mr Sunak insisted it would be “temporary and targeted”, Liz Truss’ team jumped at the announcement and said it was a definite turnaround.
However, Transport Secretary Mr Shapps, who is backing Mr Sunak, insisted it was “consistent with what he has said all along, which is that these things are always reviewed”.
He told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “He always said he would watch it very closely.
“We now know the position to be expected in the fall of this year, especially regarding the price of gas.
“And so, you know, he said he could do something more about energy carriers. This will be a one-off.”
But senior Truss ally and business secretary Mr Kwarteng said it was clearly a turnaround.
Mr Kwarteng told Kay Burley: “This is a turning point.
“A few months ago he said [a VAT cut] energy spending would disproportionately help the rich; it didn’t target vulnerable people enough and so he decided not to go with it.
“People offered, he refused.
“Just last week he said that the tax cuts were part of the fairy tale, that he was the only big one in the race because he was raising taxes where all the other candidates were offering tax cuts.
“So I’m delighted that today he’s announcing that he wants to remove VAT on energy bills.
“It’s a turning point, that is, if it’s not a turning point, I don’t know what is.”
Mr Sunak’s team said his new “winter plan” to tackle the inflation and cost-of-living crisis was in stark contrast to the £55bn of inflationary fiscal commitments that Ms Truss has made.
The former chancellor said about his proposals. “The reduction of this additional VAT will help to overcome the current emergency situation.
“I will also begin to undertake key supply-side reforms to address the increasing cost pressures that families are facing.
“That means urgently getting more people off welfare and into work and solving the supply chain crisis.”
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Team Truss accuses Rishi Sunak of tax refund after VAT energy cut announcement | Political news
Source Team Truss accuses Rishi Sunak of tax refund after VAT energy cut announcement | Political news