The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce think tank found just 19% of voters could afford a 40% rise in dual-fuel bills
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Three out of five Tory voters back slashing VAT on energy bills, a poll revealed on Friday.
Bills are due to hit £2,000 in April amid the soaring cost of gas.
The Mirror and Labour have urged the Government to axe VAT of 5%.
A Yonder survey of 2,000 voters for The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce think tank found just 19% could afford a 40% rise in dual-fuel bills, and 81% say that cutting VAT on energy bills would benefit their family, including 85% of people who voted Conservative at the 2019 general election.
Asked whether they would prefer a universalist approach like cutting VAT, or targeted help, as proposed by Boris Johnson, 58% would prefer cutting VAT, rising to 62% of 2019 Conservative voters.
Alan Lockey, head of the RSA’s future of work programme, said: “With economic insecurity so widespread — our survey shows 81% of Brits are concerned they cannot afford the coming hike in energy bills — we can’t limit help to just a few households if we want to maintain support for the essential move to decarbonisation.
“Measures like a tax cut are a step forward, but ultimately we should move to a carbon levy if we want to cut emissions, help the most vulnerable, and ensure the shift to net-zero benefits ordinary families.”
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “In a week where Conservative MPs voted down a plan to cut VAT on energy bills – despite the Prime Minister and senior figures previously backing the move – these figures will make tough reading.
“Instead of backing Labour’s plan to scrap VAT on home energy bills – paid for by a one-off windfall tax on north sea oil and gas – Conservative MPs would rather leave hard working people to face the cost of living crisis alone.”
Age UK warned the predicted 50% rise in energy bills from April could trigger a national emergency for millions of older people.
The charity said cutting the five percent VAT from all households’ energy bills from April until at least the end of 2022, and providing additional payments of up to £500 to those on the lowest incomes could encourage vulnerable older people to keep their heating on this winter.
Conservative MP Ben Bradley said there are other options to bring down energy costs, including removing green levies, than scrapping VAT.
Describing the cost of living crisis as a “short term problem”, he told the Commons on Tuesday: “We know that may be a short-term solution but this is a short-term problem that we need to tackle now and those levies aren’t helping people put food on the table tomorrow and pay their bills tomorrow.”
The Treasury has been contacted for comment.