Labour has fallen into a trap by calling for VAT to be lifted on energy bills in the Budget

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has committed her party to a policy that would benefit the better off and be bad for the environment, writes John Rentoul

Tuesday 26 October 2021 16:41
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<p>Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday </p>

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday

Politics is almost always chaos and confusion, and almost never conspiracy. But it is tempting to think that Rishi Sunak planted a seed on purpose, to lure Labour into a trap that he can exploit in his Budget speech.

It was reported about a week ago that the chancellor was considering a cut in VAT on energy bills to help relieve the burden of rising prices on people on low incomes. At the weekend, the idea was taken up by Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, who advocated abolishing VAT on energy bills for six months.

It sounded like a good and prudent way to alleviate hardship. She told Andrew Marr: “VAT receipts have come in more than £2bn above forecast. Let’s use that money to ease that pressure on people who are worried about the winter months, about putting food on the table and heating their homes.”

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