West Berkshire Liberal Democrats have demanded an emergency cut to VAT to protect local families from soaring bills and the Conservatives' worsening cost of living crisis.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for the standard rate of VAT to be reduced from 20% to 17.5% for one year, a move that would save households in West Berkshire an average of around £600 each. This would mean putting around £26.7m back in the pockets of 44,500 families in West Berkshire.
The plans were set out by Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey at the party’s Spring Conference this weekend and have been backed by Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Newbury Lee Dillon.
It comes amid warnings that the war in Ukraine will worsen the cost of living pressures facing households, with energy, food and fuel bills all expected to rise. Inflation is also forecast to reach 8% in April, its highest level in decades.
The Lib Dem plans would support the economy by boosting spending at local high streets. The proposals would also be expected to keep inflation down by making the prices of everyday items lower than they would have been.
The emergency change to VAT could be introduced quickly and easily by the Chancellor for one year. West Berkshire’s Liberal Democrats have said he should use the Spring Statement coming up on March 23 to bring forward the change as well as scrapping the Conservative’s National Insurance tax hike, to bring much-needed respite to local families.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Newbury, Lee Dillon, said:
“The Conservative cost of living crisis is hitting families hard and it is about to get worse. People across our community are worried about how to make ends meet as bills go through the roof.
“An emergency cut to VAT would offer a massive boost to people in West Berkshire feeling the pinch by putting £26.7m back into their pockets. It would also support our treasured shops, cafes and restaurants by boosting spending on the high street.
“This is crunch time for the Chancellor and the Conservatives. Will they act or just inflict more financial pain on families by clobbering them with another unfair tax hike?”
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:
“This is a once-in-a-generation crisis, and the government must step up to help struggling households and businesses on the brink. Instead of clobbering struggling families with a tax hike, the Chancellor should be putting money back into their pockets.”