My interventions to the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary during the debate on UK Energy Costs

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP (Wokingham) (Con): Does the Prime Minister agree that we are too short of energy but have plenty of taxes, and that if we had an over-supply of taxes, as the Labour party wants, we would have less supply of the things we were taxing?

Elizabeth Truss, The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend makes an extremely good point. The reality is that we cannot tax our way to growth. The policy that I am setting out today is all about helping people with their energy costs, as I promised, and making sure that we have the long-term energy supplies that we need for our country.

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP (Wokingham) (Con): Would the Business Secretary like to remind the House that the Republic of Ireland deliberately chose much lower corporation tax rates than the rest of the advanced world and collects a far bigger proportion of its economy in taxes on business than we do?

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: My right hon. Friend will be glad to note that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, from a sedentary position, is agreeing with him. My right hon. Friend is a higher authority on this than I am, but we know that the cut in corporation tax led to an increase in receipts. Higher taxation is not the answer.

Looking at the long term, we must fix our broken energy system. We must have energy independence and become a net exporter of energy by 2040. We cannot be held captive by volatile global markets or malevolent states. We must tackle the root causes of the problems in our energy market by boosting domestic supply. We will invest in renewable energy with vim and vigour, accelerating the deployment of wind, solar and—particularly exciting, I think—hydrogen technologies. To reassure my right hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Andrew Stephenson), we will invest in nuclear technologies, which also provide us with cheap and clean electricity.

I note that my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) said that her constituency is known as energy island. That is exactly what we need in this country. My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) noted that not just Ynys Môn but the whole of the United Kingdom is energy island. We must use all the resources available to us, including tidal energy, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) said. This is a great opportunity.


  1. Ian Wragg
    September 9, 2022

    This fixation with wind and solar has to stop
    At the very least there should be zero subsidies for them and no constraint payments.
    If they are as good as we are told they should stand on their own two feet.
    Wind should bid for access to the grid and be utilised on the cheapest.
    Again I ask why have you not removed vat on domestic energy an honest answer would be refreshing.

    1. Pauline Baxter
      September 9, 2022

      Ian Wragg. +1 to ‘this fixation with wind and solar has to stop’, and no subsidies for them.
      The VAT is a relatively minor part of the high cost of energy.

      1. Ian Wragg
        September 9, 2022

        It’s the principle Pauline.
        They all say they will remove it but never do. It’s like the persecution of British soldiers in Northern Ireland but the IRA has a free pass.
        There is something we’re not being told.

      2. Hope
        September 9, 2022

        I think it has been forgotten before Ukraine war there was a govt. leak saying fossil fuels would be increased to make renewables look cheap. If this govt was serious about cost of living why did increase the standing charges! To hide increase so we would not notice another renewable increase.

        Same old same old with Truss. We know this as she has scrapped Raab’s British Bill of Rights coming before parliament next week to sort out ECHR to curb immigration! No wonder she did not mention it as a priority! Truss wants mass immigration to continue hiding the scrapping of BBR under energy cover.

        Why has no one in your party raised this JR?

        Reply Because it is not true. They are planning to strengthen the bill.

    2. glen cullen
      September 9, 2022

      Agree – Could someone also please remove the standing charge from energy bills and reduce the duty on fuel

    3. Lifelogic
      September 9, 2022


    4. acorn
      September 9, 2022

      You need a Finance Act to change VAT; or used to. We have “fiscal events” like Truss yesterday and one coming from the new Chancellor shortly. There is a problem calling these events “budget statements” without the OBR involvement.

  2. Atlas
    September 9, 2022

    Re: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s response.

    “We will invest in renewable energy with vim and vigour, accelerating the deployment of wind, solar and—particularly exciting, I think—hydrogen technologies.”

    I groaned when I read this as it means more of the same Net Zero wishful-thinking that previous PMs have foisted upon us. ‘No wind at night’ situation anyone??

    1. Julian Flood
      September 9, 2022

      While appreciating that many of the more effective brains of USian rocket science have migrated to private enterprise — Musk etc — the problems which are attending the attempts to launch the Artemis rocket might have been expected to give the S of S for BEIS pause in any dash for the hydrogen economy. Briefly, the SLS is delayed because of the engineering difficulties inherent in using hydrogen as fuel. It is the Houdini of energy carriers (it is the equivalent of a battery, storing the energy harvested elsewhere) able to escape through the tiniest gaps, and it makes metals brittle so that the escapes may not be tiny. Worse, it is violently explosive, so a hydrogen economy would be attended by headline disasters. There actually is a third batch of worse — converting solar and wind electricity to hydrogen wastes a lot of the garnered oomph, then turning it back to electricity to use in industry and homes wastes more — it’ s what happens when you convert energy from one form to another. This is not the way to get to Net Zero should you wish to do so.

      The obvious way to approach Net Zero is with immense caution. Each step should be considered for risk, financial, climatic, engineering, political. Any lemming-like rush will almost certainly fail when the power cuts and economic damage lead to so much outcry that sub-optimal responses increase damage — for example, see Germany’s rush to burn lignite in re-opened coal-fired power stations.

      There is a solution which can be put in place immediately. Cancel Sizewell C and any future EPRs, they are an even bigger white elephants that Hinkley C and will be too late to make any difference to global temperatures in 2050. Instead use onshore shale gas to replace any oil and coal burning generation, replace petrol and diesel engines (everything except aviation) with this wonderful low carbon and safe fuel. Extend the gas grid to all domestic and heat using businesses, makong them low carbon, safe and cheap.

      These measures alone will move the UK towards Net Zero but commit us to nothing. They are sensible in themselves. Meanwhile, develop and deploy RR SMRs at a sensible rate. No hurry, the shale gas revolution will get us halfway to the hydrogen economy without blowing ourselves to Kingdom Come. From this superior position we can refute any suggestion from our envious competitors that we are dragging our feet on the Net Zero goal. Heaven forbid!

      The best bit comes last. When the climate hysteria dies down we will still have a viable business sector and a lot of voters will not have endured a decade of hardship.

      Further thoughts on this at double youX3 dot It’s a light-hearted look at a failed future.

      1. Original Richard
        September 10, 2022

        JF :

        I agree completely.

        Transport should be converted to natural gas as well as all heating requirements.

        Hydrogen cannot be used in the existing natural gas grid as it corrodes the steel piping for bulk transport, it requires much bigger pumps as it requires 3/3.5 times more volume to flow because of its lower energy density and, being such a small molecule, leakage control is much more difficult.

        Nuclear, in form of SMRs is the way forward, and definitely not using the duff EDF EPR technology so Sizewell C should be cancelled.

        SMRs can be built not only at all the old and existing nuclear sites where there is the infrastructure, security and employees in place but also at old coal power stations where the power distribution structure still exists.

        There is even already existing a supply of green gas (methane) which is already in use and can be further developed.

    2. Hat man
      September 9, 2022

      How could it be otherwise, Atlas, when a new Head of State takes over who is a Green Revolution supporter? He will set the tone and as monarch give an aura of national unity to the net zero policy. Did Liz Truss have a real choice? I don’t think so.

    3. Nottingham Lad Himself
      September 9, 2022

      It will all be sorted when the world has a Global Grid.

      The sun never sets, and the wind is never still.

      1. Mike Wilson
        September 9, 2022

        It will all be sorted when the world has a Global Grid.

        A career in stand-up awaits.

      2. Mickey Taking
        September 9, 2022

        Australian wind and sun will be really useful to UK.

      3. Dave Andrews
        September 9, 2022

        Perhaps Germany and other European states had that objective in mind when they signed up to get their gas from Russia.
        When we have neighbours who threaten us, we need to be self sufficient.

      4. Mark
        September 10, 2022

        The global grid is another green fantasy. 70% of the globe is ocean that is uneconomic to connect to. The quantities of copper required for a global grid are prodigious and not available. The numbers of turbines and panels required are equally absurd. Worse still, it turns out that we get periods of global stilling of winds where they blow almost nowhere except in the remote deep ocean.

        1. graham1946
          September 10, 2022

          How much useful power would come out of a cable thousands of miles long? As I understand it, power is lost in transmission even over short distances in this country.

    4. Pauline Baxter
      September 9, 2022

      Atlas. I groaned too!

    5. glen cullen
      September 9, 2022

      The yard stick is now whether this government will ever allow fracking for shale gas

    6. Lifelogic
      September 9, 2022

      Ref. Hydrogen – Clearly Mogg does not really understand the science. We have no hydrogen mines. Hydrogen is just an inefficient battery/storage system very energy wasteful (can waste 70%+ of the energy), very expensive, hard to store and can be dangerous too. Outside a few specialist areas it is very unexciting technology indeed.

  3. Lifelogic
    September 9, 2022

    Mark Littlewood who was at Oxford with Truss (also and ex-Libdim who moved to the right) assures us we can trust Truss to be a strong libertarian – well we shall see – I though Boris was a small government, libertarian climate realist and he become the complete opposite.

    Lord Callanan on Choppers Politics is still reading the same “net zero” drivel from the old energy department hymn sheet. All rather depressing Ms Truss as is your rather non market solution to the energy price rises.

    1. Pauline Baxter
      September 9, 2022

      Lifelogic. ‘Net zero drivel’, it certainly is.
      Unfortunately some people are daft enough to blindly go along with it.
      Others may spout it for their own evil reasons.

  4. Mark B
    September 9, 2022

    Good morning.

    Would have it been better to increase the tax allowance and give those on benefits an increase to offset the rise in energy. If you cap peoples bills they will not be inclined to limit their consumption resulting in higher costs to the government, greater borrowing, debt and taxation to pay for it.

    I am sick of all this talk. We need action ! Real tangible action ! ie Fracking !!

    1. Pauline Baxter
      September 9, 2022

      FRACK! yes FRACK! Mark B.
      And all our other ‘Wicked’ carbon dioxide producing OWN resources!
      Plus Nuclear.

    2. Lifelogic
      September 9, 2022

      +1 non market “solutions” generally makes things worse.

    3. Mark
      September 10, 2022

      That leaves those just above the thresholds for benefits at an extreme disadvantage, since tax allowances do much less to increase their incomes. They become the new poor.

    4. graham1946
      September 10, 2022

      A better idea would be to give everyone a low social tariff for a specified amount of energy and to increase prices in steps according to extra use. This way the poorest will still be able to access energy for their basic needs and special arrangements could be made for people who have medical devices etc. at home which need constant electricity. I don’t buy the argument that the poorest waste energy , especially the pensioners on basic and mabye with small additional pensions. Therefore such people are not in a position to cut back other than choosing heating or eating which is an invidious choice and is shameful for this country. Another point which I have heard no-one mention, is that this system arranged by the PM is still a further increase in cost and I work out that for my bills it will still be much higher, (more than double) than I was paying this time last year, so is not such a wonderful plan at all. The poor will still suffer whilst the rich sail majestically on using all they want.

      1. Mark
        September 10, 2022

        I agree. It’s a much better mechanism and can also be applied to businesses, while also providing incentives to economise.

  5. Mickey Taking
    September 9, 2022

    A new energy policy? Seems remarkably like the previous one, let the wind blow but not to much, let the sunshine in, and hope for a very mild winter. Buy more solar panels from China, and more windmills from who? Scandinavia?
    Rely on the users using gas as briefly as possible, and ask them to get up in the wee small hours to start washing machines, dishwashers and do their ironing while wrapping themselves in the duvet?

  6. The Prangwizard
    September 9, 2022

    No change here. More windmills, more solar panels. No mention of gas or oil or coal so clearly that’s to be avoided by JR-M.

    Whatever the PM says which sounds good will be undermined by the green loons who are clearly still in charge. I assume he intends to lay more inter-connectors to France so any surplus must be sent abroad since it can’t be stored.

    My confidence from what Liz Truss said has been destroyed.

  7. Pauline Baxter
    September 9, 2022

    Most of what was said is sensible.
    The exceptions are there are still those silly references to ‘renewable energy’, particularly sun and wind.
    Don’t know about tidal energy. Sounds good, tides happen all round us, twice a day. But wouldn’t making use of them interfere with shipping and fishing?
    Some mountainous areas do have what is needed for hydro.
    Basically, Boris’s whole Net Zero policy should be scrapped. CO2 is NOT a ‘devil gas’. There is no global, man made climate change.
    Solar panels and wind turbines should be BANNED from being SITED AT GROUND LEVEL, particularly green field sites.
    TAKE THE BAN OFF production of I.C. vehicles COMPLETELY, for good.
    And YES develop nuclear energy as fast as possible while keeping all our other domestic sources of energy, coal, oil, gas, going as long as possible.
    Hopefully we now have a government that is ruling in the interests of our OWN COUNTRY.
    (I suppose some of your back benchers are still daft enough to support B.J.’s crazy carbon neutral policies. So a bit of soft soaping of that policy was necessary.)

    1. John Hatfield
      September 9, 2022

      Indeed, do as B.J. did. Say one thing and do another. But this time in the right direction.

    2. Mike Wilson
      September 9, 2022

      There is no global, man made climate change.

      Do you ever think ‘What if the thousands of highly qualified and experienced scientific experts are right and little me is wrong?’

      Just wondering. Or are you an expert yourself?

      1. graham1946
        September 10, 2022

        Why then do the Chinese and Indians for example plan to ignore it all? Are they planning armageddon for us all and themselves? They must have at least as good information as the West, probably better as subsidies and research grants for certain people presumably do not figure in their assessments . What we do know for certain is that Net Zero will bankrupt us whilst our competitors carry on as usual.

      2. Original Richard
        September 10, 2022

        MW :

        There is no man-made global climate change.

        The climate has constantly changed over billions of years. The real climate deniers are those who deny there was any climate change until the Industrial Revolution.

        Why was there an ice age with its glacial maximum just 20,000 years ago and why did the planet warm again? It certainly wasn’t man-made and the historical data shows that CO2 does not control the temperature.

        I recommend everyone examines the evidence for themselves and not rely on IPCC modelling, which is constantly being amended to fit the data.

        How can increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere from 3 molecules per 10,000 (300 ppm) to 4 molecules per 10,000 (400 ppm) cause climate breakdown?

        570m years ago, at the start of the Cambrian explosion, CO2 was at 6000 ppm. Ater some periods of wild variation it steadily declined some 146 million years ago and at the last ice age the CO2 concentration went down to 180 ppm. At 150 ppm plants, and hence life on Earth, cannot exist. Fortunately as the planet warmed the CO2 concentration climbed to 280 ppm.

        Ideally plants need at least 1000 ppm and burning fossil fuels releasing sequestered CO2, is the best way to achieve this.

  8. paul
    September 9, 2022

    The ECB has made a statement saying, it stand ready to liquefy banks in the euro zone.

  9. XY
    September 9, 2022

    While I have always agreed with the sentiments being expressed and I know what is meant, many people do not. That’s why this phrase struck a dissonant chord:

    “but we know that the cut in corporation tax led to an increase in receipts”

    I can imagine many people saying “But you just said they cut tax so it can’t be more innit”.

    Which is why politicians need to learn to use the word RATES (of tax). Because people hear “tax cuts” and think the govt will get less money whereas the reverse is often true on Laffer principles (as Ireland shows).

    It is important that cutting RATES of tax leads to people changing their work and business lives and by doing more work, at lower RATES of tax, the state TAKES more in total.

    It’s a communication problem I have despaired over all my adult life. Not everyone knows what you/we know – they need to be helped to understand by repeating the right words and mantra.

  10. Sir Joe Soap
    September 9, 2022

    Yes I believe Ireland collects £3000 Corporation Tax for every man woman and child in the country. We collect about £800. Enough of a difference to pay all those energy bills off for everybody at a stroke.
    These things are soluble.
    You just need to look through the telescope from the right end.

  11. Jim Whitehead
    September 9, 2022

    PB, +1, Good broad sweep in your comment but I don’t think that tidal energy is worth much consideration until some new ways are devised for it.

  12. acorn
    September 9, 2022

    Did you know that France has had a Corporation Tax rate of circa 27% and, has had the highest foreign investment in the EU for the last three years.

    Also, the reason corporation tax yields go up after a rate drop, is because corporations delay taxable events until the, well signalled before hand, rate drop occurs.

    1. Peter2
      September 10, 2022

      The headline figure is a bit misleading acorn because you missed off all the allowances.
      Just a few:-
      Companies get a tax credit of 7% of their total wages and salaries.
      The effect is to substantially reduce the effective rate.
      The tax credit amounts to 40 billion euros about 40% of the gross take.
      Certain other items are also exempt
      research, start ups, new businesses, and there is a higher depreciation allowance scheme.

      1. Peter2
        September 10, 2022

        acorn your second paragraph is also misleading.
        HMRC have strict rules over what corporations are allowed to do in delaying putting items into their accounts to gain a tax advantage.
        It fixes on the dates of the year end of your accounts and the company auditors are watchful of attempts to bring forward items or delay introducing items which might alter the true figures for tax purposes.
        The accounts, if challenged by HMRC can gain penalties and fines.

      2. a-tracy
        September 13, 2022

        That’s interesting Peter, and so like acorn to only give half the information!

        So the French like to control the corporation tax discounts and where they are spent ie. on higher employment.

  13. ed2
    September 9, 2022

    We must have energy independence

    And political independence which means no US gas

  14. ed2
    September 9, 2022

    My right hon. Friend is a higher authority

    Which so often are wrong

  15. paul
    September 9, 2022

    The energy story is complete, renewables won, now we go to food and rewilding, i think your looking at another lost cause, you only have to look at holland which is the second biggest exporter of food in the world or do i mean soon to become the second smallest exporter of food in the world, that right, soon you will need a bail-out on food to boot as food is getting crushed as well by majority western countries as one of the main fights against climate change. Eating out or takeaway,s will end as you know them now, they are just getting started.

  16. Dave Andrews
    September 9, 2022

    “We cannot be held captive by volatile global markets” says JRM.
    Well how is that going to be achieved when energy resources are sold off to the energy companies for us to buy at the global rate?
    There isn’t any choice, as these global giants are the only ones with the capability of prospecting and extracting gas and oil, so the country is held to ransom by them. If only companies could be set up that supplied the energy to the public at a reasonable rate, but the world (especially Tory) doesn’t work that way.

  17. No Longer Anonymous
    September 10, 2022

    Here’s a plan for the self-glue eco protesters.

    Go up to them all softly softly and offer them drink and food in abundance. Then leave them to shit and piss themselves and say “Oh sorry. We can’t de-superglue your hands as we might hurt you.” Make sure it’s filmed too.

    1. No Longer Anonymous
      September 10, 2022

      Liz Truss is not thinking for herself, is she ! Who is controlling her ?

      This bollocks is all about 2024 and the snap election before it. Rob Peter and pay Paul.

      Blue team wins…”Yaaay !”

      Net Zero still stands. I repeat. Net Zero still stands. Tax and piss down the drain still stands. It is a delaying tactic just to keep the Tories in power and nothing to do with putting us on the right track. And (as another says) my deferred debt does nothing to curb the demand that will surely cause blackouts and rationing… so WHAT protection of our country and our culture ?

      HOW does any of this stop the shit storm that is coming ?

      The Queen is gone. Our country is going to look very different in Spring to the one that entered Winter.

    2. Mark
      September 10, 2022

      If they wish to set themselves up as if in the stocks perhaps they should expect a barrage of bad eggs and rotten tomatoes. Might make up for the lack of sentencing in the courts if sentence were imposed by the public in a traditional manner.

  18. Mark
    September 10, 2022

    I am deeply unexciting by the massive subsidies necessary to incorporate hydrogen and tidal energy and ever greater reliance on wind and solar into our energy mix. The government’s net zero plans have yet to be properly examined: the BEIS Select Committee enquiry into decarbonisation of the grid has yet to publish evidence or call oral witnesses, for one thing. Policy has been devised with scant regard for cost or even basic feasibility. The cost of these plans is simply unaffordable, and we will waste huge resources the longer we persist with them. The attempts to solve the infeasibility aspects will simply add massively to costs. It will impoverish the nation.

    The net zero plans need a wake-up call. As Netzerowatch have put it, the choice is between trashing the economy and abandoning net zero.

  19. Donna
    September 10, 2022

    And STILL we have the obsession with wind and solar, when they know full well that it means doubling energy supply for the half of the year when one or the other contributes little or nothing to the grid.

    Renewables should be made to compete on a level playing field with alternative energy sources. No subsidies and the cost of providing back-up sources of energy should be borne by the Renewable Companies so they are made to charge the full amount for their sub-standard product ….. not the consumer through their bills and not the taxpayer.

  20. Original Richard
    September 10, 2022

    PM : “We will invest in renewable energy with vim and vigour, accelerating the deployment of wind, solar and—particularly exciting, I think—hydrogen technologies.”

    My heart sank when I read this as we will be heading to be a 3rd world country with electrical power that is insufficient, expensive and randomly intermittent with volatile pricing and rationing.

    There will be no energy security as 95% of wind turbine parts and 100% of solar panels are produced in China and China controls the raw materials for batteries, generators and motors.

    Electrification of transport and heating is impossible without a massive upgrade of the local grid and this will also result in energy rationing.

    Hydrogen is very expensive to store and ship and a very expensive way to act as store of electricity.

    Using the BEIS figure for wind turbine capacity factor, 30%, and the efficiency of electrolysis/compression (52%) and then generating electricity (60%) shows that we would need 8 times the installed wind turbine capacity for any given amount of constantly available power.

    Industry will continue to decline, imports will increase and people and businesses will leave for countries where their lives will be made much easier by access to reliable power.

    As I write 27 GW of installed wind turbine power is providing just 2.50 GW of power.

  21. Original Richard
    September 10, 2022

    PS : For those interested in hydrogen I recommend reading “Energy & Hydrogen Economy” by Bossel and Eliasson:

    1. dixie
      September 10, 2022

      So, Hydrogen as a feedstock to generate syngas to replace natural gas and generate liquid synfuel for ICE/fuel cell transport though lots of energy is typically involved.
      In theory it is a carbon neutral process and has been mentioned before on this blog
      PS amongst other applications H2 is also jolly useful as a redox component to produce steel, convert rust to iron and efficiently recover rare earth minerals from magnets, but it simply isn’t exciting enough for some.

      Your only problem is how to convince the net zero acolytes that is a legitimate pathway to net zero and convince the petro-dinosaurs that it is not net zero.

      1. Original Richard
        September 10, 2022

        dixie :
        Wind is now providing just 1.64 GW out of an installed capacity of 27 GW (5.49% of demand) !

        1. dixie
          September 11, 2022

          What has “wind is now providing … 5.49% of demand” to do with your comment pointing to an article on hydrogen as feedstock for liquid fuel production?
          PS Wind is now providing 17% of demand with solar at 3%, compared with nuclear at 15%.
          8% of grid generation is being exported, presumably that could instead be used to generate hydrogen as a fuel precursor for slack periods.

  22. Original Richard
    September 10, 2022

    dixie :

    Sorry, when I updated my browser I found wind is actually providing 0.71 GW out of an installed capacity of 27 GW (2.70% of demand)!

    It is completely reckless to continue to build further wind and solar renewables until an economic non-fossil fuel solution exists to store “excess” (what “excess” BTW?) energy when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun is not shining, such as at night., whist at the same time reducing fossil fuel electrical generation by explosively demolishing fossil fuel power stations.

    There should be a law to prevent such recklessness.

    1. dixie
      September 11, 2022

      I agree governments, of all shades, have been crap in planning, preparation, negotiation and execution.
      Clearly there is excess if it is being exported via interconnectors.

  23. Bean
    September 11, 2022

    According to a OECD report last year the UK had the highest carbon taxes in the G20, five times the G20 average.
    We have been deliberately self harming ourselves.

  24. paul
    September 11, 2022

    The climate is more to do with the sun and moon and any think else, CO2 is a red herring, this hot summer was forcast 5 years ago by expert’s, as well as three wet summer’s that went before. The gov should keep to what know’s and not go off on scheme that enrich parliament and other’s they know, gov is there to enrich the poor and middle class’s of this country, but they refuse to do their job.

  25. paul
    September 11, 2022

    The man who what’s 900 million a year rent from the poor people’s budget for the Celtic sea must be having a laugh

  26. Peter Martin
    September 11, 2022

    If each country agreed to a standard rate of company taxation the total amount of tax collected would be greater than it is. Naturally companies will chose to locate in lower taxation counties, if only using them as a ‘flag of convenience’, to hide the income they make in higher taxation countries. One of the advantages the EU could have exercised in this respect was to harmonise corporation tax rates. They proved to be singularly ineffective at this and allowed internal tax havens to operate in Ireland and Luxembourg.

    It was one of my reasons for voting to leave the EU.

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