Mr Halligan told the show that while cutting VAT would only save around £100 a year on energy bills, the cut to bills is better than nothing. It comes as GB News has launched a campaign called “Scrap the VAT” which is calling on the Government to scrap the deeply unpopular levy on household energy bills. The issue will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday as Labour put forward a motion which, if passed, would force MPs to vote on the proposals to scrap the tax.
Mr Halligan said: “It came up in the Brexit referendum because when we were in the EU we didn’t control our rates of VAT
“We have to have minimum rates of VAT.
“But now we are outside the EU….we can remove VAT on anything that we want to!”
But new presenter Eamonn Holmes suggested the cut is “not going to happen” given the state of the economy but Mr Halligan was more optimistic.
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He reckoned a cut will take place following a debate in Parliament arguing that it’s “better than a slap in the face” with the current prospect of bills set to soar to over £2000.
Mr Halligan said: “We all know that since last summer wholesale gas prices across the world have been spiraling upward
“We have seen big increases in energy bills in the autumn.
“Now the average household is paying £1,277 a year on their utilities, a huge increase!”
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He noted how energy regulator OFGEM is set to increase the price cap on energy bills on February 7, this is expected to be over £2000 which is up from around £100 a month to a whopping £170 per month per household.
But Mr Halligan argued that by taking the VAT off this sum, while “not huge”, it would be a 5 percent cut on Britons’ energy bills, roughly £100 a year.
The GB News economics expert was then asked if Prime Minister Boris Johnson was right when he branded the plans a “blunt instrument” and something that people from high-income backgrounds could in fact benefit from.
Mr Halligan said while there is a chance of that, the benefits to lower-income households would be massive if they were to save around £100 a year on their energy bills.
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He added that such a move should however be “a temporary reprieve” for one year given that fuel prices are exceptionally high at the moment.
Parliament will vote on Tuesday whether to scrap VAT, the Government is expected to abstain from the vote with ministers urging No 10 to take control of soaring costs for millions of Britons.
In an article for The Sun in 2016, Mr Johnson argued that leaving the European Union would allow Britain to cut VAT on energy bills, but he has since backtracked on those comments.
Millions of Britons are bracing for massive energy price increases, compounded by the pandemic, Brexit, and supply chain issues. It comes as the cost of gas has spiralled across Europe and the rest of the world as demand has soared following the re-emergence of countries out of the pandemic.