Boris Johnson and Michael Gove today claimed that the government would be able to scrap VAT on household energy bills if Britain leaves the EU.
Having previously pledged to spend Britain’s annual EU contribution on "our priorities" like the NHS, Vote Leave campaigners today argued that leaving the EU will allow ministers to bin the "unfair and damaging" £2 billion a year tax on gas and electricity prices.
Writing in the Sun, Mr Gove and Mr Johnson promised that "fuel bills will be lower for everyone".
But the pledge has elicited scorn from those in favour of remaining in the EU.
"More fantasy economics from Vote Leave: leaving the EU would lead to a smaller economy, a hole in public finances and higher taxes - like higher VAT," George Osborne said.
Currently, VAT of five per cent adds over £60 to domestic dual-fuel bills.
The Tories introduced VAT on energy bills in 1993, six months after "Black Wednesday" when Britain crashed out of the European ERM currency union.
They claim the £2 billion tax cut can be funded out of the £11 billion a year saved from Britain’s contributions to the European Commission.
What has the EU ever done for us?
What has the EU ever done for us?
1/7 1. It gives you freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in Europe
As a member of the EU, UK citizens benefit from freedom of movement across the continent. Considered one of the so-called four pillars of the European Union, this freedom allows all EU citizens to live, work and travel in other member states.
2/7 2. It sustains millions of jobs
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, released in October 2015, suggested 3.1 million British jobs were linked to the UK’s exports to the EU.
3/7 3. Your holiday is much easier - and safer
Freedom to travel is one of the most exercised benefits of EU membership, with Britons having made 31 million visits to the EU in 2014 alone. But a lot of the benefits of being an EU citizen are either taken for granted or go unnoticed.
4/7 4. It means you're less likely to get ripped off
Consumer protection is a key benefit of the EU’s single market, and ensures members of the British public receive equal consumer rights when shopping anywhere in Europe.
5/7 5. It offers greater protection from terrorists, paedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
Another example of a lesser-known advantage of EU membership is the benefit of cross-country coordination and cooperation in the fight against crime.
6/7 6. Our businesses depend on it
According to 71% of all members of the Confederation of British Influence (CBI), and 67 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business.
7/7 7. We have greater influence
Robin Niblett, Director of think-tank Chatham House, stated in a report published last year: “For a mid-sized country like the UK, which will never again be economically dominant either globally or regionally, and whose diplomatic and military resources are declining in relative terms, being a major player in a strong regional institution can offer a critical lever for international influence.
In the letter the two Tory cabinet ministers state: "We believe working people will be better off if we leave the EU.
"The NHS will be stronger, class sizes smaller, and taxes lower.
"We’ll have more money to spend on our priorities, wages will be higher and fuel bills will be lower.
"Leaving the EU is a great opportunity for us to take back control of our borders, our economy and our democracy."
Separately, Chris Grayling, another cabinet minister in favour of Brexit, will today claim that Brussels is planning to unleash a massive new power grab over key aspects of life if voters choose to remain in the EU.
Mr Grayling will use a speech to say Eurocrats are currently on their "best behaviour" but are preparing to move "full steam ahead" with a string of controversial measures unless we cut ties on June 23.
Meanwhile a leaked memo from the Remain camp, Britain Stronger in Europe, found that Labour supporters were "uniformly uncertain" about the party's position on Europe.
That finding, which came from focus group research carried out by the campaign was corroborated by a YouGov poll for the Times, which found that 45 per cent of the party's voters think Labour either backs Brexit or is split on the issue.
A source in the Remain campaign said it was crucial that Labour politicians stepped up their efforts.
"Labour voters are pivotal in this referendum. That’s why we need a lot of Labour voices because they are better message carriers."
Several Labour MPs said local activists had "canvassing fatigue" after the recent round of local elections, but that they expected a big effort in the final stretch of the campaign.Reuse content