Lichfield and Burntwood Liberal Democrats are backing a call for an emergency cut to VAT to protect local families from soaring bills, and the worsening cost of living crisis.
"We are calling for the standard rate of VAT to be reduced from 20% to 17.5% for one year, a move putting around £20,000,000 back in the pockets of 32,800 families in Lichfield, Burntwood, and the surrounding communities. This would mean saving households in the Lichfield District an average of around £600 each," says Hugh Ashton, Liberal Democrat Lichfield City Councillor.
The plans were set out by Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey at the party's Spring Conference this weekend and have been backed by Ashton and the other Liberal Democrat councillors in the district.
With warnings that the war in Ukraine will worsen the cost of living pressures facing households, with energy, food and fuel bills all expected to rise, many families will find themselves in a very tight spot. Inflation is also forecast to reach 8% in April, its highest level in decades.
The Lib Dem plans to reduce the standard rate of VAT would support the reviving economy by boosting spending at local high streets. The proposals would also be expected to keep inflation down by lowering the prices of many everyday items.
"The emergency change to VAT rates could be introduced quickly and easily by the Chancellor for one year, as was done in 2008 following the banking crisis. The Liberal Democrats in Lichfield and Burntwood say he should use the Spring Statement coming up on March 23 to bring forward the change, as well as scrapping the Conservatives' National Insurance tax hike, to bring much-needed respite to local families," says Ashton.
Liberal Democrat City and District Councillor Paul Ray adds, "The Conservative cost of living crisis is hitting families hard and it is about to get worse. People across our community are worried about how to make ends meet as bills go through the roof. For that reason, the Liberal Democrats on both the Lichfield District Council and Lichfield City Council were against the Conservative-backed rise in council tax for 2022-3. The District Council has a 'cushion' of about £7,000,000 in the kitty, but despite this, it seemed that the ruling bloc was determined to push through with the increases."
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has said, "This is a once-in-a-generation crisis, and the government must step up to help struggling households and businesses on the brink. Instead of clobbering struggling families with a tax hike, the Chancellor should be putting money back into their pockets."
Ashton points out that, "An emergency cut to VAT would offer a massive boost to people in the Lichfield district who are feeling the pinch, by putting £600 back into their pockets. It would also support our treasured shops, cafés and restaurants by boosting spending in the city and town centres, attracting more visitors to spend their money here, and helping to revive the economies of Lichfield and Burntwood. This is crunch time for the Chancellor and the Conservatives."
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