Build Back Better Backtrack? UK Considering Scrapping Green Taxes from Energy Bills

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) gestures during a visit to the Scottish Power C
JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The British government is reportedly considering a major reversal on its Build Back Better agenda by scrapping energy bill taxes used to subsidise supposedly green energy schemes amid the growing energy crisis.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is allegedly reviewing the levies placed on the energy bills of the public, in a move that could save around £153 for the average household, the British broadsheet most closely tied with the Tory government has claimed.

Speaking to The Telegraph newspaper, an unnamed Downing Street source said that scrapping the green taxes are “one of several options” currently under consideration to be put in place by the Autumn when households will require more energy.

“Certain of our MPs really like it, we understand it’s an attractive option that some are pushing,” the source said, adding: “We were balancing lots of objectives, including the climate objective. It wasn’t felt that it was the right thing to do in March. But we can’t rule out the situation being different later in the year.”

The leak of the proposal to the paper comes ahead of the local May elections in Britain, which look to be an uphill battle for the the Prime Minister and his party, which has been under pressure amid the party gate lockdown scandal, a cost of living crisis, and hitherto governing to the left of many in his conservative base, including implementing the highest tax burden in 70 years.

In recent weeks, the government has attempted to throw some red meat to the base, in announcing plans to send illegal boat migrants to Rwanda instead of putting them up in hotels in Britain, as well as making moves to open up nuclear power plants and oil exploration in the North Sea.

However, the government has so far refused to lift the moratorium on fracking, despite the Russian war in Ukraine demonstrating the pitfalls of failing to tap domestic sources of natural gas for countries like Germany.

Warning of potential political disaster for the Tories, Richard Tice, the leader of the Reform UK party — formerly the Brexit Party under Nigel Farage — said that Boris Johnson’s net-zero agenda will be the new Brexit for the Conservative party, which Tice claimed is “out of touch” with its membership.

“Some Tories in the shires get bamboozled by the green lobby. But most of the members are completely in our camp – cut taxes, go for growth, become self-reliant and use our own shale gas,” the Reform UK leader told The Telegraph.

Tice forewarned that divisions within the party over the green agenda “will become as big as Brexit or bigger,” in the near future, saying: “It will be a seismic crisis for them because of what will happen to people’s bills.”

Britons have already been hard hit when the nation’s energy regulator Ofgem raised the energy cap — a socialist policy in Britain allegedly intended to keep prices down for middle and lower class families — by 54 per cent to £1,971  in April.

The Office for Budget Responsibility warned that bills could rise by another 40 per cent when Ofgem reviews its price cap again in October, rising to £2,800.

Currently, around 25 per cent of energy bills are spent on taxes which are directed towards subsidising green energy projects. On top of this, the government has refused to lift the five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on energy, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously touting the potential tax cut as a benefit of leaving the European Union.

Tory MP Rob Halfon argued that the government should scrap the green taxes, which he described as a “millstone around people’s necks”.

“It would really be welcome if the Government could do something further on the cost of living. That is the thing that is most worrying the public, more than the parties. You can’t balance environmentalism on the backs of working people.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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