Could Brexit Lead to Scrapping VAT on Energy Bills?

3 June 2016, 14:18

The polls seem to be swinging either way on a regular basis. One minute the Remain camp is said to be in the lead, and the next the preference swings towards Vote Leave. Depending on which poll you read and who you speak to, the vote for or against Brexit seems to vary almost by the day.

There have been many arguments for and against the idea of Brexit – otherwise known as Britain making an exit from the EU. Now VAT has been brought into the limelight as well. More specifically, the idea has been mooted that a vote to leave the EU could result in scrapping VAT on energy bills.

According to official sources, states that are members of the EU must add at least 5% VAT onto energy bills – both gas and electricity. The current rate in this country is the minimum 5% that has to be added if we are not to flout the EU rules. However, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have both said it would be possible to get rid of this VAT charge if we did leave the EU. This in turn would make energy bills cheaper for everyone in Britain.

They pointed out that there is nothing anyone in Britain can do as long as we are a member of the European Union. We have to charge 5% VAT and that’s that. But if we did leave, we would regain the power to scrap the VAT charge. If this were to happen, we could save £2 billion collectively on our energy bills each and every year.

Just imagine the difference that could make. It is just one area where Vote Leave campaigners say we could be a lot better off by leaving the EU. Of course, those campaigning to Remain say we will be worse off by leaving, and point to many theoretical benefits to be gained by staying.

In the end, we will all have a vote and a say in whether we should stay or go. As such, it will all be revealed when the referendum takes place on Thursday 23rd June this year. No doubt there could potentially be changes in the way VAT is charged, and what it is charged on, regardless of the result. However, the idea that we could possibly end up with cheaper energy bills may tip the balance in favour of leaving for some.

Yet while VAT is important, there are bigger issues at stake as well. We shall have to wait and see whether the result goes one way or the other, and what the fallout will be either way. Any impact on VAT will be reported here as soon as we know about it.