British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has slammed Remain supporters, accusing them of hypocrisy for blaming Brexit for rising energy prices across the UK.
Mr Johnson said it was “paradoxical” that such a move could ever be achieved if Britain remained in the EU, in reaction to a question from a political editor at a press conference, who pressed Mr Johnson on claims that Brexit would mean Britain could scrap VAT on energy prices. Despite his comments, he did not propose repealing the unpopular tax.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson stated in a 2016 article in the Sun newspaper that if Britain left the EU, “energy bills will be lower for everyone, EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills and hit the least wealthy particularly hard.”
He went on to say that if Britons voted to leave the EU, the UK would be able to eliminate the “unfair and damaging tax” of VAT on energy bills.
The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole noted, “As Prime Minister, you are refusing calls to cut VAT or scrap VAT on energy bills! What has changed or were you misleading voters?”
Mr Johnson insisted that he was “not at all” misleading those who voted for Brexit. He said, “I think it is slightly paradoxical that this is now being campaigned for by people who actually wanted to Remain in the EU! When it would be impossible to deliver within the EU.”
Despite the ongoing, the Prime Minister stated that his government will “continue to listen” to businesses and consumers on ways to reduce energy costs for everyone.
He also emphasized that he “understands the difficulties” that people are experiencing as a result of rising gas prices, but insisted that initiatives like the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payments would alleviate that pressure to a reasonable extent.
Boris Johnson hinted that a £500 million contribution from the local government would also help those who are suffering from the cold this winter. Though he stopped short of promising any additional action or changes to address the soaring cost of energy being imposed on Britons this year.
The Warm Home discount is a one-time payment of £140 to your energy supplier in exchange for a reduction in your electricity or gas bill between October 2021 and March 2022.
While Winter Fuel Payments are paid to British citizens born on or before September 26, 1955, to help them pay their heating bills, those who qualify can receive between £100 and £300 to help keep them warm.
Currently, millions of Britons are bracing for massive increases in energy prices, which will be exacerbated by the pandemic, Brexit, and supply chain issues.
Gas prices have risen across Europe and the rest of the world as demand has increased following the re-emergence of countries from the pandemic.