Author Archives: Ian Sollom

Forget cutting VAT: social tariffs would help tackle the cost-of-living crisis

The cost-of-living crisis should be the number one priority for all political parties this summer. With the energy price cap due to rise by an eye watering 70%, on top of the 54% rise earlier this year, a cruel winter beckons, one that for some, make no mistake, will be fatal.

Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert, has spent the summer pleading fruitlessly for solutions from government. Meanwhile, Labour has chosen to squander their time arguing about whether the Shadow Cabinet should join the picket lines of those on strike.

There is a huge space for the Liberal Democrats to propose powerful, radical policy that will make a real difference to those that need it most.

A temporary cut in VAT, to be debated at Autumn Conference as our headline solution, is not that policy.

I’m no great fan of VAT, but timing is everything and the timing of this cut is wrong. On straightforward grounds of fairness, to give away the most to those who already have the most – as cutting a tax on spending would boil down to – is simply perverse right now. Moreover, both the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Institute for Government warn strongly against the policy, citing the prolonged inflation and interest rate rises that will likely result as serious long-term risks for the economy and households.

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