We have to increase VAT on energy saving materials

Yesterday I was told that VAT on energy saving materials is not going up in the budget. I found that surprising, as I believed the consultation document HMRC (part of the Treasury)  put out on 9 December 2015. It stated clearly

“In line with the CJEU’s judgement, the government intends to amend the relevant legislation in the Finance Bill 2016.” “The purpose of this consultation is to receive comments as to whether or not the proposed legislation achieves its objective…”

The Consultation document made clear that the lower 5% rate of VAT on solar panels, water turbines and wind turbines would be replaced with a 20% rate. It also showed that in certain cases installations will in future only attract the lower rate on all energy saving materials if they are to “people living in dwellings who have a social need (qualifying persons) “etc  Other installations in residential dwellings will depend on the cost of installation relative to the energy saving materials. The Treasury estimated this as being a £65 m tax hike in a full year.

The truth is the UK lost its case in the European Court last summer. The European Commission took the UK to court, demanding that we raise VAT on energy saving materials in various cases. The Court decided clearly in favour of the Commission.  The Court said


“the United Kingdom of GB and NI has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 98 of the VAT Directive , read in conjunction with Annex III thereto”.


In view of the fact that VAT is an EU tax, all the time the UK is in the EU it has to comply with EU law. The ECJ decides this, not the UK, and has recently decided the UK has to raise VAT on energy saving materials. The HMRC consultation is quite clear about what has to be done. It is not a consultation on whether we should do it or not, just a technical consultation on whether their latest proposals will ensure the UK complies. So why are some now  told the Finance Bill will not contain a VAT rise on energy saving materials?


The government seems to think it will get some new flexibility over VAT. This would require a new VAT policy from the Commission and changes to EU law. In the meantime the UK has  broken the current EU law and has been ordered by the European Court to change our law instead. When is this legal tangle going to be sorted out? Is the EU really going to change its law In the way we want? If so, how and when? Are we going to be fined for non compliance? Will we see the new draft law before the referendum?


  1. JJE
    March 22, 2016

    There are many things we will not see until after the referendum. Perhaps we should start to compile a list.

  2. Lifelogic
    March 22, 2016

    The whole idea of the anti-democratic EU fixing UK taxes is appalling. It seems that Cameron and Obama would however have us submit to this “taxation without representation”.

    I cannot imagine the USA agreeing to such a thing for very long. Is “taxation without representation” not merely a form of partial slavery?

    The British electorate will surely not vote to remain and submit to such a thing now they are finally being asked?

    So why are Cameron, Osborne and the LibDim wing backing the wrong horse and even flying Obama over to instruct us that “No taxation without representation” is just fine for UK serfs?

    1. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      – to instruct us that “taxation without representation” is just fine for UK serfs?

      Is what I meant to type.

      1. Mitchel
        March 22, 2016

        Not only that,LL, in 19th century Russia the ruling classes could mortgage their serfs so that they could continue living beyond their means.Hasn’t the same thing effectively happened here?So much for progressive politics!

        1. Lifelogic
          March 23, 2016

          Indeed it has.

          1. Bazman
            March 25, 2016

            Massive subsidy via taxation without representation is not a problem though is it? Such as the property market where as I sit here I am making 20k a year for doing nothing and landlords make a fortune from housing benefit and price inflation. Much to say haven’t we? But not on this subject I note.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      It seems that Osborne’s (admittedly totally bonkers) Jamie Oliver/Sugar Tax will also face legal action in the EU courts.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 22, 2016

        Potentially, but it seems that’s partly because it isn’t actually a sugar tax, it’s a tax on some sugary drinks but not on others. Which division may also have something to with their rating for VAT? I don’t know.

        A sugar tax would be a tax on sugar, like the tax levied from 1764 when sugar was still considered a luxury but finally abolished by Gladstone in 1874 so the poor could afford to make themselves healthy and nourishing jams:


        “Sugar had gradually changed from being a luxury item to an everyday commodity, and became a key ingredient for lower class people who used it to make jams and preserves – an essential part of the diet for those poorest people for whom bread was their primary source of nutrition”

        1. Lifelogic
          March 27, 2016

          The EU already has a sugar import tax:-

          Most EU sugar imports are controlled by Tariff-Rate Quotas (TRQs), which set the amount of sugar that can enter the region from abroad at a reduced or zero duty. The EU applies prohibitive Most-Favored Nation (MFN) tariffs to additional sugar imports. These high import duties – €339 per ton on raw cane sugar for refining and €419 per ton on white sugar – prevent imports beyond the TRQ limits from most competitive, sugar-producing countries such as Brazil, Thailand and Australia.


    3. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      Five days a year per person lost in traffic jams I see.

      It must do wonders for the already dire UK productivity, doubtless it will get worse when all the disruption of HS2/3/4 starts. When will the government invest in roads, bridges, overpasses, underpasses, parking, road tunnels and the likes to meet the real demand. Start with a new Thames bridge or tunnel in East London.

      Also when will they switch of all the pointless anti-car traffic lights and get rid of all the government road blocking measures?

    4. majorfrustration
      March 22, 2016

      Let me think – could it be future “jobs for the boys”

    5. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      Why is our silly government advising Britons against all but essential travel to Brussels following the terror attacks on the city? This is surely just doing the terrorists work for them. Why on earth do they imagine Brussels is any more dangerous post this attack than it was before it? Or any more dangerous than many other major cities and airports?

      People are far more likely to be killed in a bike or car crash or just falling down the stairs.

      1. A different Simon
        March 23, 2016

        Lifelogic ,

        It has become worse than that .

        The number of suicides now exceeds the number of deaths on the road .

        People , especially young people , are giving up hope .

        The Govt’s anti-British mass immigration policies and land speculation bubbles have put the chance of a fulfilling life outside their reach .

      2. Bazman
        March 25, 2016

        Right wing fatalistic nonsense on par with “Av’ a fag you could be hit by a bus tomorrow”. From that glorious anti ISIS warrior lielogic. Had he been unfortunate to have a small insignificant cut from flying glass would have been screaming blue murder about the lack of security and warnings. Incompetent EU/UK forces and secret service foreign policy etc. He however heroically was wounded for the cause of freedom. Addyour own tosh.
        Ditto climate change, financial industry, food, cars, housing, transport and anything else you care to name.

        1. Lifelogic
          March 27, 2016

          Not at all. The risks of having a fag are really rather large and real about 80% of all lung cancers for example. Like cycling it is quite dangerous.

          The risks of dying from a terrorist attack are very low. In the UK you have just under million death PA, perhaps 100,000 of these are smoking related. UK death from terrorism perhaps just 1o or so each year on average.

          1. Bazman
            March 27, 2016

            Nobody in a good state of health has ever died from smoking one cigarette. They may well fell like they will, but will not and I would not recommend anyone to do this.
            Cycling is too dangerous in your mad elf an safety world too with 113 deaths in the UK last year?
            How many die each year from eating blue cheese in the world? Quite a few more than cycling it seems, avoid that one.
            Climbing a ladder must be classed as suicidal behaviour.
            The risks of dying in a terrorist attack are because of the precautions taken.
            As I said different story when anything effects or inconveniences you or you cannot do it.

    6. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      I see that David Cameron has criticised Ukip for linking the Brussels attacks to immigration. Saying the suggestion that ‘open borders are putting lives at risk’ was “not appropriate”. Next he will be saying he wants to make Britain “hole” again rather like Hillary Clinton.

      Why exactly is saying the simple and obvious truth “not appropriate”? Perhaps he could explain? I find it entirely appropriate and very pertinent. Why exactly does Cameron think open borders with the whole of the EU, totally regardless of merit, health, earning potential or criminal intent is a jolly good thing?

      1. Lifelogic
        March 23, 2016

        or rather “whole”.

  3. matthu
    March 22, 2016

    Meanwhile in Germany, in the wake of Paris climate agreement,

    a number of high level Environment Ministry bureaucrats in Germany’s government have been eagerly concocting a “radical bill” dubbed “Climate Protection 2050″ – designed to make Germany almost carbon-free by 2050.

    … proposals call for the mandatory, comprehensive renovation of buildings that owners would be forced by law to carry out. Such huge costs of course would have to be passed on to the occupants who rent or lease the buildings.

    … some of the proposals include severe tax penalties for owners of “energy inefficient” buildings should they refuse to implement costly renovation works. The catalogue also calls for excruciatingly high taxes on heating oil and natural gas.

    “When the German government foresees the death of the combustion engine within the next 14 years, even though electric cars have failed to sell so far, it shows us the newly acquired level of radicalism that their climate-political demands and expectations have taken on.”

    This is what awaits us if we remain within the EU … of course, that is why some people will advocate remaining within the EU.

  4. Antisthenes
    March 22, 2016

    I have always had the impression that the UK is more scruples in applying EU laws, rules and regulations than some other members. Even embellishing them some times. I also note that Brussels turns a blind eye to non conforming members when it suits her. France and Germany I believe receives special treatment which is understandable as the EU was set up to mainly benefit those two countries. To stop them tearing each other apart from time to time and to make them buddies by tying them to a common market.

    Indeed they either turn a blind eye or act contrarily whenever the need arises to keep the EU project on track. For example euro rules were often ignored. We know the outcome of that. The UK joining the EU was a mismatch right from the start as Anglo-Saxon culture, trade and economic models are quite different to those that the EU was built on. Now that we are in it whenever we want to do things our way because the EU way does not suit us the ECJ and qualified majority voting stops us(the continentals gang up on us).

    When the EU wants us to do it their way which is nearly all of the time they just impose it on us. Soon there will be nothing left that we can decide for ourselves. Is not self determination a freedom that we have fought and died for to keep it yet we are giving it up gladly first by joining the EU and then by staying in if we vote to remain.

    March 22, 2016

    It’s a spider’s web.
    Interconnecting strands of legislation,rules, perhaps’, maybes’, layering of national,EU formats. Of course there is unintentional ineptness. But bright minded EU-ers know that sticky complications make it more tricky for nation states to leave the EU black widow spider. She wants us.

  6. Pete
    March 22, 2016

    Don’t worry, the government will cave in to Brussels as usual.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 22, 2016

      More importantly from a constitutional point of view, Parliament will cave in.

      Recently when Cameron was trying to get Boris Johnson on side to keep us locked up in the EU he was dropping hints about a new “sovereignty bill” and perhaps a new court, which according to the brilliant notion of that great parliamentarian would have the power to strike down Acts of Parliament but would itself be subordinate to both the ECJ and the ECHR.

      My reaction was that we already have something which was supposed to be a “sovereignty bill”, the European Union Act 2011:


      and if anything more was needed it could just be a statement like this inserted into Part 3:

      “The Parliament of the United Kingdom always reserves the right to legislate contrary to the treaties and laws of the European Union and any other international organisation established by treaty to which the United Kingdom is a party”.

      But that would drive the eurofederalists like Dominic Grieve crazy, and so there is little chance that any such amendment would even be proposed by the government let alone passed by Parliament, both Houses of which have been gradually packed with members who are not committed to its sovereignty.

    2. Paul H
      March 22, 2016

      Just as, according to the IFS today, Osborne has to the SNP over taxes.

  7. Mike Stallard
    March 22, 2016

    It is becoming clearer and clearer that the Budget was not thought through properly.
    It is becoming clearer and clearer that the staff at No 10 and No 11 are simply running the country without proper consultation, even within the cabinet. And, because they are not listening to other people, they are having to make changes on the hoof.
    It is becoming clearer and clearer that the EU is running our economy in micro detail, which is worrying since the Eurozone is in charge of a majority of countries within the EU.
    And finally everyone can now see the glacial pace with which the EU deals with problems that in Australia and Russia and other independent countries solve in just a few days.

  8. Ex-expat Colin
    March 22, 2016

    Have to think of something to fill the lunches and limo’s bill(s). Cut all that cr*p and help fill the £4Bn hole.

  9. Roy Grainger
    March 22, 2016

    Yes it is very curious. I saw one mischievous comment that the entire budget is actually now illegal under EU law because the £4bn of cuts needed to balance it from the now reversed PIP cuts have not been replaced and apparently will not be until the Autumn. I know the budget has to be sent for EU review in advance so maybe there is some truth in this ?

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    March 22, 2016

    Of course the EU will bend to our will sir.

    This is not just the EU it is ‘a reformed EU’

    1. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      Indeed EU will seem quite reasonable & flexible for three month then if we get a remain vote they will do whatever they like and the UK is doomed.

      The voters will never get anther chance to escape the EU peaceably anyway. Democracy will have fully died at that point there will not even be a sensible demos any longer.

  11. stred
    March 22, 2016

    The lesson to be learned is- buy your insulation before the referendum. There used to be a scheme where the energy companies spent their money for green measures by subsidising insulation in DIY stores. The price reduced to about £3 for a roll of fibreglass quilt. Non trade customers could buy as much as they wanted. I insulated 3 houses using this subsidy. Then it stopped when the Green Deal moved subsidies to the complicated and selective scheme. The prices are now quite high and a 20% rise would set back private improvements.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      Indeed the green deal was an absurdly contrived, expensive and very silly scheme. A waste of taxpayers money.

    2. Bazman
      March 25, 2016

      This is true. In 1999 ago I foolishly insulated the loft with ton of fibreglass roll of my three bedroom timber framed mid terrace house for about £170 quid to stop it being like living in a car and installed the latest boiler and light bulbs causing my gas/leccy bill to stand at £72 a month today up from £23 then.
      Any taxpayers money spend on energy efficiency as you can see from the above figures is green crap. What is needed is a massive nuclear plant, subsidies for wind farms overgenerous ‘auction’ prices for energy companies and backup by secret diesel generator farms not wasteful subversive insulation plans for the poor who are not poor and do not have fuel poverty as they would be frozen if they did and there would evidence of ice.

  12. Chris S
    March 22, 2016

    I would have thought it was obvious what is happening over this and much else :

    Brussels is conspiring with the Government to enable the Treasury to back pedal over this VAT rise until after the referendum, like they are doing with so much other potential bad news for the Remain camp like faster progress towards the European Army and other measures.

    I suspect there are many more deeply contentious issues currently under wraps that the Commission has put off bringing forward, even at a European level, for fear of upsetting the outcome from their point of view.

    Depending on the outcome of the vote, only then will we find out what we so nearly escaped from or are going to have imposed upon us.

    Goodness knows there are enough issues they haven’t been able to cover over such as the quickening of Turkish accession and Merkel’s whole migrant crisis.

  13. stred
    March 22, 2016

    Well done in the R4 interview this morning. Despite the lady journalist diverting the subject to tittle tattle repeatedly, you managed to get a few sentences about the referendum in. The news though just repeats the TT.

    Despite the Newswatch report on bias, the EUBC insists it is even handed. A straightforward lie seems to be the standard response these days.

    The budget response from no 10 reminds us of the tax credit reverse. A total reversal, even though the basic idea was good but the implementation a disaster, Now all welfare cuts are out although we all know that there is waste and fiddling. The Motability budget seems to be an area to be looked at. I recently looked at nearly new cars and saw a beautiful car 6 months old with 2k mileage, reduced from a new price of 16k to 10k. I was told that the car was an ex motability purchase and the previous owner had bought a new one.

    1. Antisthenes
      March 22, 2016

      “Now all welfare cuts are out ”

      A good point. I do not think they are out completely but they will be much more difficult to carry out after George Osborn’s gaffs on tax credits and now PIP. It was always going to be a hard slog to bring the welfare bill into affordability territory. Once you give someone something to them it becomes their right to have it so it takes some prising to take it away again. They have done so reluctantly so far but maybe that reluctance will turn into obstinacy so will have to fight them every inch of the way. And so the tag nasty Tory party has regained traction. A gift for the left.

    2. Yosarion
      March 22, 2016

      It is quite possible that the owner was re assessed and no longer qualified for PIP at higher rate when they had their DLA replaced, they would then have had to hand their three year lease vehicle back and that was what was in the showroom.
      What they then bought to replace it with in a free Country up to them.

  14. Know-dice
    March 22, 2016

    I don’t think I will bother to go out to work in future…seems like every way you turn if you are on benefits you get a better deal from the Government and Councils.

    “One nation government”, “We are all in this together”… my backside…

    “It also showed that in certain cases installations will in future only attract the lower rate on all energy saving materials if they are to “people living in dwellings who have a social need (qualifying persons) “etc”

  15. alan jutson
    March 22, 2016

    Perhaps Our Chancellor could make a clear and honest (difficult for him I know) statement in the House of Commons today, as I understand he has now prepared to come out of hiding.

    Certainly if one of disown MP’s does not ask this question, then Corbyn should.

    As many of us have said before, the EU creeps into every aspect of our lives and handcuffs Government policy on a whole range of topics, including tax collection and Budget requirements.

    1. alan jutson
      March 22, 2016


      should have been ” his own” but perhaps the mistake is rather more accurate, as his popularity seems to be draining away amongst his own MP’s.

  16. stred
    March 22, 2016

    It was good to hear that a brexit budget has been prepared. Another point which needs to be addressed is the fear of young people that they will not be able to work and keep making friends or even finding partners in Europe. My family have very close friendships and may wish to marry partners from the EU. A lot of foreign women are attractive to Btitish men and some of us on this blog have opted for them. British women also often fall for the continental approach.

    I tried to explain that there is nothng to stop us finding Norwegian or Swiss birds and that they can come to work here. However, they pointed out that it is now very difficult for non EU partners or wives to be allowed in and that the same may happen for EU birds. Most Outers see no problem in single EU people coming to work and marry British partners. In fact it would be a less interesting country without them.

    How do you propose to allow young people to visit and work here from the EU and other countries which we exchange with in roughly equal numbers?

  17. Hope
    March 22, 2016

    JR, Cameron is not representative of the whole of the Tory party, let alone all Tory MPs. He is using all government machinery to promote and support his own personal view. Despite collective responsibility dropped. He is manipulating, deceiving and lying to convince everyone to remain in the EU. This is includes this topic today. The U.K. Government should be the only body to raise or spend our taxes, NOT unelected bureaucrats that the public cannot get rid of. That is why the US became an independent nation!

    Today we see the tragedy in Brussels. We read no go Muslim areas in Belgium and France where extremists appear to have immunity. We read when the Paris attacker wa hidden and when arrested a crowd formed to protest! We have Paris, Brussels, sexual migrant offences across EU countries. Freedom of movement helped the Paris attaker to come to Europe and hide in Europe after his attacks. Cameron supports Turkey joining the EU. Terrible attacks occurred there recently. We read how the president imprisons his opposition, imprisons critical journalists. The European Arrest Warrant could see a UK citizen end up in one of his jails! The Euro causing mass unemployment, destitution, loss of business and migration and tensions between friendly countries. Cameron falsely claims the UK is better in a strong safer Europe, this is utter rubbish and, in my view, a bare faced lie. I suspect you are correct that this issue on tax will turn out to be a pro EU PR stunt and gradually brought back in when everyone forgets about it.

  18. Shieldsman
    March 22, 2016

    This is a comment on where are we heading if we remain in the EU.

    The remainders have the idea that statis quo is available if we stay in. They are ignorant fools.
    They could start by reading Breitbart:
    Elmar Brok ‘That The EU Will Not Advance Any Further Is False’ Declares Merkel’s Brussels Ally
    The man described by Nigel Farage as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Vicar on Earth in Brussels”, Elmar Brok, has served notice on those who believe the advance of the European Union (EU) has been checked by Britain’s membership renegotiations.

    German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok has been working on a report for the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs. It investigates “improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty” (read) and is expected to be adopted by the Parliament before the summer break.

    In an interview with EurActiv published today, the experienced and well-connected Mr. Brok said his report shows: “The idea that the EU will not advance any further is false.”

    There are lots of scary plans in there, and Cameron’s deal will not stop them taking place. I have only glanced through so far, one section deals with how to bring new members into the eurozone and surmount the fiscal problems.

  19. Bert Young
    March 22, 2016

    Whose surprised ?!. Disentangling ourselves from the jaws of Brussels is now , and has always been , a nightmare . We ought to create our tax regime as an integral part of our democracy ; outsiders should not play a part in deciding whether we try to balance our books or to run a deficit . Yesterday I thought the comment by Peter Lilley was very apt ; he referred to the budget and how wrong it was to cough up money to the EU while reducing benefits to the handicapped . Our priority is running this country not that of others .

    Every day there is some announcement from Brussels that interferes with our sovereignty ; we have to get rid of this sore in our lives and restore our dignity and independence .

  20. Old Albion
    March 22, 2016

    The current government will comply fully with the EU’s instructions, as always.
    It will probably try a smokescreen tactic and the ‘remainers’ will believe it.

  21. Graham Wood
    March 22, 2016

    JR. Slightly off topic, but thank-you for your robust and spirited Brexit case made this morning on BBC R4 interview.
    Also, skilfully shot down the irrelevant attempt by BBC interviewer Michelle Husain to
    change the subject to get off the point . Typical and risible BBC bias emerging as always

    1. majorfrustration
      March 22, 2016

      Agree – we need more interviews like that one

  22. oldtimer
    March 22, 2016

    We may rest assured that, post the referendum, law and order will return with the imposition of the increased VAT rates. Who do they think they are kidding?

  23. wab
    March 22, 2016

    Fortunately Mr Redwood does not believe in climate change and he does believe in the free market and so he doesn’t believe that so-called energy saving materials should be subsidised relative to any other service or product. So by all logic he must be on the side of the EU on this one. Oh, but he hates the EU more than anything else in the universe, so he will spout hypocritical nonsense on other policies just so he can spout vitriol against the EU.

    It’s funny how the EU haters jump through ridiculous hoops to push their anti-EU propaganda. (The same with immigration, where the EU haters would have us believe that they are concerned that Asians are not getting a fair deal vis-a-vis immigration relative to all those white EU people.)

    1. alan jutson
      March 22, 2016


      Insulation companies are not responsible for taxation issues, that is the Governments responsibility, so really do not understand your point.

    2. forthurst
      March 22, 2016

      “It’s funny how the EU haters jump through ridiculous hoops to push their anti-EU propaganda.”

      …whereas the Europhiles have to resort to scaremongering and barefaced lies to make their case. It must be terrible not having sufficent intelligence to independently research and form judgements on issues, thus being reliant on the those of control freaks etc ed: yes, let’s join the the Euro as well because Tony Blair said so. Go back to the grauniad because no one here is listening and no one cares.

    3. Denis Cooper
      March 22, 2016

      Not just rubbish, but low grade rubbish.

    4. Pud
      March 22, 2016

      Perhaps you can quote where exactly in this post or in any other that Mr Redwood “spouts vitriol against the EU”. He is against the EU but I’d say he posts via reasoned argument, not vitriol. Contrast with many on the Remain side who stoop to insults instead of debate e.g. the oft-heard taunt of “Little Englander”.

      1. stred
        March 23, 2016

        JR always edits out or omits my best vitriol. He’s a softy and would never be as vitriolic as Nigel Farage. Unfortunately, MEPs are going to be banned from being rude after poor Mr Tusk was reduced to a speechless wreck after our Nij had a go at him . Re You tube.

    5. Antisthenes
      March 22, 2016

      That is some twisted logic. Mr Redwood is against the principle that VAT is being decided in Brussels and not here. I do not believe in climate change either. It seems pointless however to increase the cost of energy saving materials as saving energy is good economics climate change or not. Apart from which not charging VAT is not a subsidy it is merely not imposing a tax at a level that reduces demand so that economic savings do not occur. I do not believe renewable should be subsidised which if I understand correctly that is not what is being discussed here but ways to conserve energy.

    6. majorfrustration
      March 22, 2016

      Sorry but I lost you on that one!

    7. Roy Grainger
      March 22, 2016

      There is no-one who doesn’t believe in climate change. Climate always changes. Energy saving seems a good idea though as the green lobby have ensured we don’t have enough electricity generating capacity because, unlike Germany, we’re planning to stop burning coal.

    8. Anonymous
      March 22, 2016

      wab – One thing worse than a liar is a person who puts words in another’s mouth. I read nowhere that John Redwood disbelieves in climate change.

      It is frustrating to be told that – because I think closing power stations unilaterally is futile – that I am a ‘disbeliever in climate change’. Or that, because I think we need to control *immigration* I am anti *immigrant*.

      The contortions of the Left and their lies are such that people have had enough and are lurching to the extreme right in Europe and America (thankfully not Britain – which has seen the BNP destroyed and UKIP barely able to get one MP.)

      If it does happen here and you want someone to blame look in the mirror.

  24. miami.mode
    March 22, 2016

    If, yesterday, you went to the Treasury for the information, you would probably have done better by cutting out the middleman and gone straight to our real government in Brussels for the answer.

  25. Denis Cooper
    March 22, 2016

    The ECJ can not only declare that a national government is acting in breach of the EU treaties and laws and require it to take corrective action, Article 260 TFEU:


    also the ECJ can decide that one or more of the EU institutions has acted illegally and in that case directly strike down their action, Article 263 TFEU.

    It would be interesting to see how it reacted to the removal of VAT from tampons, if that actually happened rather than remaining as just an unfulfilled promise.

  26. DaveM
    March 22, 2016

    Once again, the EU is proving how safe it keeps all the people of Europe with its open borders and politically correct immigration and human rights policy.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      March 22, 2016

      Yet another failure on a grand scale. Sorry but I don’t feel any safer just because we are in the EU. I might feel better outside though.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2016

      Indeed. Further the response of the authorities, closing everything down is entirely wrong too, it just help the terrorists in causing further disruption.

      All they should do is sweep up the mess and get things moving again and try as best they can to catch the criminals and prevent further attacks with better intelligence.

      We should get on with life, just as we do after an air accident or coach crash.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 22, 2016

        It should be clear to the terrorist that they will achieve nothing through the attacks.

    3. agricola
      March 22, 2016

      You are not going to like what I say, and it might not even pass your moderation, but that I would say is indicative of the problem.

      We can only help our European friends by sharing intelligence. The sorting of their problem is in their hands.

      It is long overdue that we took the gloves off in the UK and to do so means leaving the EU, while at the same time having people of action in government. Sound bites and political correctness are long past their sell by date.

      All suspected terrorists on MI5s watch list should be detained and locked up, as were aliens at the outbreak of WW2. Those that do not survive positive vetting should be deported.

      At all airports, rail terminals, bus stations, shopping malls, and anywhere people gather en masse, we should carry out targeted security checks. etc ed
      It is long overdue, that in the UK, we woke up to the fact that we are at war. Every time war occurs it changes it’s nature and so should the response. The incidents in Paris and Brussels are just it’s latest manifestation. I am curious to know how many might agree with me.

      It is the duty of government to protect it’s law abiding citizens, while we remain in the EU this is not possible because positive action is ham strung by political correctness emanating from the ECJ and other woolly minded thought centres.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        March 22, 2016

        Agree with all you say here Agricola. Apparently in Brussels there is an area where many suspected terrorists live. Why the hell are they allowed to stay in Europe let alone Brussels if they are suspected terrorists.

        I am sure the situation is similar in parts of the UK too. Why do we put up with these people on our shores? Don’t tell me – human rights. That’s another area which needs changing. These animals should not have any human rights and the sooner we get a bit tougher the better. We are all in danger and will soon all be at war.

        1. stred
          March 23, 2016

          Fedup. This is unfair to animals. Thet don’t kill each other believing they are pleasing god and will be going to heaven.

    4. Roy Grainger
      March 22, 2016

      Oh. Ed Miliband has warned you not to make political points like that because he does not agree with them.

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    March 22, 2016

    Am I not right in thinking that harmonisation of VAT rates is not necessary for the operation of free trade or for a Single Market?

    Would the world come to an end if each Member State was allowed to vary its VAT rate on each type of goods and services between 0% and 30%, without any interference whatsoever by the European Commission?

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 23, 2016

      Provided that you don’t use the tax system to unfairly disadvantage suppliers in the other countries, that is to say the default position is that you apply the same sales tax to imported goods and services as home produced goods and services.

  28. MickN
    March 22, 2016

    I know this is off topic but with the tragic events happening in Brussels today could you try and get an explanation from Mr Cameron as to what exactly he means when he keeps repeating ad nauseum that we will be safer if we remain in the EU.

  29. The Prangwizard
    March 22, 2016

    Just seen Turkey’s Erdogan saying that there could easily be a bomb in Brussels, and guess what happened.

  30. alan jutson
    March 22, 2016


    Yes I saw the interview as well.

    The saying often repeated “Safer in Europe, where we can share intelligence” where did I hear this last I wonder.

    Terrible news, but in truth was this sort of action not forecast, whilst we do not yet know who is responsible, they still allow complete unknowns to enter the EU.

    Utter madness.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      March 22, 2016

      Don’t panic. Merkel still thinks it’s a good idea to keep our borders open to all and sundry. You couldn’t make it up. Her policies will be the biggest disaster to happen to Europe.

  31. Denis Cooper
    March 22, 2016

    If the Telegraph was allowing comments on your article today, JR:


    mine would be that it is excellent.

  32. fedupsoutherner
    March 22, 2016

    We invite them in and this is how they repay us. Time to think again about mass immigration particularly when papers have not been shown so we don’t know who we are asking in. Madness. Terrible for the innocent people caught up in this crap. Are we next?

  33. stred
    March 22, 2016

    A man from Kent was jailed yesterday for smuggling machine guns in on a boat up the Thames estuary. I wonder how many other small boats or perhaps containers and boxes in the back of lorries are not spotted.

  34. Nig l
    March 22, 2016

    I know this is unparliamentary language but, frankly, the government is lying to us led by Cameron who stated quite clearly he could opt to vote to leave the EC when he had no intentions whatsoever of doing so, end Working hours legislation and the Human Rights Act etc.

    If you knew about this, why hasn’t a big fuss been made during the budget debate. I suspect that once again inconvenient facts are considered less important than being seen to be disloyal or putting one over the opposition.

    Now where can I find a Tumbril in working order?!

  35. Anonymous
    March 22, 2016

    Why would Belgium intelligence not communicate with their own police? Even after Paris attacks?

    etc ed

  36. William Long
    March 22, 2016

    Perhaps our ‘leader’ has now spent so much time in the company of eurocrats from other countries that he is catching their disease of taking no notice of the bits of EU law that do not suit his purpose!

  37. Denis Cooper
    March 22, 2016

    Well, according to our Prime Minister and his allies if we left the EU then all such intelligence co-operation would come to an end anyway. Even if our intelligence service picked up information about a terrorist plot directed against Brussels then we wouldn’t warn the Belgians, and if the Belgians picked up something about a plot to let off bombs in London they wouldn’t tell us. As for Norway, well that is not in the EU but it is in the EEA; so presumably we have some less than satisfactory restricted form of co-operation about terrorist plots with the Norwegians, sometimes they will us and sometimes they won’t and they’ll just watch as Londoners are blown to bits, and vice versa sometimes we’ll let terrorists kill people in Oslo because they’re not properly in the EU. Such is the unspeakable rubbish with which the Remain camp insults the electorate.

  38. Antisthenes
    March 22, 2016

    These atrocious acts today in Belgium would appear to throw DMC’s assertion that we are safer in the EU into considerable doubt. This was in Brussels the heart of the EU if that cannot be defended then nowhere in the EU is safe. There is a yet not enough proof but the assumption has to be that the open arms policy (another EU cock up) to immigrants is making terrorist attacks on Europe much easier for these barbaric people. And that they will increase is very probable.

    All other crimes are escalating and our infrastructure, security forces and other institutions and bodies are being put under considerable pressure. Having difficulty coping now how long before they cannot cope at all.

    The fact that the terrorist captured yesterday after a long period on the run and living where he did has to point to the fact that he has had considerable help to do so by a large number of sympathisers and activists. Even now others are eluding capture no doubt for the same reasons.

  39. majorfrustration
    March 22, 2016

    Achieve fundamental changes from within the EU – dream on.

  40. Roy Grainger
    March 22, 2016

    I see Ed Miliband (remember him ?) immediately jumped in to try to gain politically from this tragedy by saying no-one (.ie code for Leavers) should try to make political gain from it.

  41. ian
    March 22, 2016

    Are we moving to gross taxation of business with budget just gone, people pay taxes gross and do not get reduction for house loans car loans and personal loans, why I ask is because of the 50% reduction in losses of loans for business and interest and other tax changes.

  42. NickW
    March 22, 2016

    Quote from Juncker.

    “When the situation is serious, you have to lie”.

    We know we were lied to and misled both by our own and EU politicians during the course of the last referendum.

    We can expect the same shameless lies this time too; a point which those campaigning for the return of our stolen sovereignty need to emphasise repeatedly.

  43. Atlas
    March 22, 2016

    After your earlier point about the recent EU-Turkey agreement applying to all the EU and not the Schengen zone we seem to have the same phenomenon again of Cameron saying one thing in public which is different from what is the actuality.

    I also think a lot of nasty stuff is being saved up for after the Referendum vote.

  44. ian
    March 22, 2016

    till such time as the people pay no tax on their sweat taxes and I mean all people even ceo at companies on their wages, your budget will continue to be destroyed, if people want to donate to the government out of their wages that is another matter, maybe it would be a good idea if workers donate one per cent so they can put more in if they wish and the top givers are know to people in adds, my recommendation to the government and the treasury and your self should be taken on board about tax and pensions before you fall any further

  45. ian
    March 22, 2016

    do you know this new tax system runs a long side the old tax system and can show you how much progress you are making with the new system and can be changed back at any time reflecting your new lower tax rates.

  46. ian
    March 22, 2016

    do you all so realize that it change the way people think about government and work and will bring down unemployment to near nothing and disablement as well.

  47. ian wragg
    March 22, 2016

    It would seem that ISIL are on the Leave side. Whilst Brussels worries about VAT on Tampons and Energy saving products a fifth column is running wild within earshot of the EU institutions.
    Safer within says Dave when GCHQ has to keep the Belgian police up to speed on terror threats. Perhaps they are safer with us in but I don’t think the EU does anything to enhance our security.
    Osbourne sounded very contrite today but I think that ship has well and truly sailed.
    He had better get up to speed with his wallpapering skills.

  48. ian
    March 22, 2016

    of cos people who have come to this country as immigrants should pay a higher donation if they have been living hear from over the age of 21 but not under, to pay for the service and infrastructure they will be using.

  49. ian
    March 22, 2016

    it will be much better for business because cut out all the BS so instead of talking about tax they can get on with the business of earning money with growth and their accountants can get on with improving the business instead of trying to save tax all the time and be better off because business costs will fall.

  50. agricola
    March 22, 2016

    Having written a rather contentious piece on the Brussels bombings I felt a desire to reflect on the positive.

    Sat here at my dinning table overlooking a rather English Channel looking Mediterranean, I self indulgently bathe in what a good decision I made in landing up here. Let’s be honest I have just enjoyed nine oysters and a bottle of Monopole to wash them down, accompanied by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga reminding me that I should have learnt to play the piano and sing.

    A word about Monopole. A white Rioja of modest distinction, but a milestone in my self indulgent life. Many years past I found myself at a restaurant in Palamos called La Gamba. Having ordered food and being asked what I wished to drink with it, I said to the camerero, I am in your hands, or more colloquially digame. He suggested Mono;pole. thereafter this inexpensive tipple has punctuated my life. I commend it to you, hoping you can get nine fresh oysters for Eu 6.50. Just one of the small joys that life is about and no apologies. It must be defended against the barbarians who would destroy us.

  51. ian
    March 22, 2016

    It would be a new social contract between government business and people.

  52. Lifelogic
    March 22, 2016

    Indeed they make it up as they go along. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we can all be very clever after the event.

  53. peter davies
    March 22, 2016

    So if the integration and creep continues will there be any point having a budget soon, if the EU is in charge of VAT I guess the treasury will work out how to bury changes like this by implementing them in the way they do with EU regulations.

    Pray to god the UK electorate aren’t stupid enough to swallow the BS for the Better in Vichy crowd come the referendum.

    March 22, 2016

    Off Topic:
    Brussels attacks.
    From early morning, through the afternoon, into evening on all British TV channels, it would appear that a new variation has emerged on the “N” word ( for those who are not still wondering what that was about ). It is the “I” word, or the “M” word or the “D” word. Nine hours of continual TV coverage and the “I” word has been mentioned just five times, the “M” word…not at all, despite lots of “M”s living in a certain area of Brussels. The “D” word just once.
    For those still wondering about the meaning of “N”, I don’t know. No-one has ever explained what the full word is. Jeez it’s like when we were 10 years old and our dads wouldn’t explain about sex and stuff and kept on saying “C’mon you KNOW, Yes you do! ” Well we had an idea but needed adult confirmation of such a nonsense.
    OK. I’ll be a good Dad. The words our media and senior, most senior politicians dare not say are:-
    “I”=Islamic; “M=Muslim; “D”= Daesh. No I haven’t a clue either what Daesh means but it must be really really cheeky.

  55. Bazman
    March 22, 2016

    The Tories love VAT make no mistake and trying to pin blame on Brussels is par for the course. When Alistair Darling was the Chancellor he surprised experts by announcing a temporary cut in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent in an attempt to stimulate spending. The move was opposed by the Conservatives.
    Osborne increased VAT from 17.5% to 20% and cut welfare spending as he moved “decisively” to tackle Britain’s record debts.
    The end game is no income tax and all taxation by indirect means as even cowboy builder have to pay it. Regressive, but as we have seen how much we are “in it together” after IDS let the cat truly out of the bag, the poor are the ones who use services such as the NHS and therefore should be the ones that pay for it.
    Bread and petrol would go to a tenner and Bentleys would of course remain the same price to preserve jobs/exports etc.
    They probably would not get away with it, but would as we have seen push it as far as they could.

  56. Phil Richmond
    March 22, 2016

    John I do not understand why the European countries havent introduced full border controls. It can only help?
    I also do not understand why they are letting in millions of mainly Muslim refugees, who are male and mainly of fighting age and undocumented?
    I completely despair of all the Political leaders in Europe and I include David Cameron. We are finished. I think it is time to immigrate.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 23, 2016

      According to two typical “useful idiots” on the Sky press review last night it is most unsavoury to even mention things like that at a time like this … they had me cursing at the TV for their mealy-mouthed stupidity.

  57. acorn
    March 22, 2016

    This is a good read for all you Redwoodian insomniacs. The IMF techies are desperately trying to overcome their neo-liberal management; the latter basically being a mouthpiece for the US State department / C.I.A. (the regime changers).


    Japan is the extreme example of wage rises not following productivity improvements after the late seventies, when “monetarism” became the dominant ideology, Thatcher embraced it with gusto.

    So, if some politician says our productivity is low, you will know because wages are taking a lesser share of national income while the capital owners are taking more of it. Basically, we are not all in this together.

  58. Bazman
    March 22, 2016

    Thanks for turning up Gideon. We don’t want you hiding in your office like a small manager from the facts put forward by an aggressive employee who is right, when normally you would be out telling us all how we are in this together. Not senior management material yet though the union guy and especially his supporters looks like they are in your pocket.

  59. matthu
    March 22, 2016

    Brilliant article in The Telegraph, John (A Brexit Budget will make us all better off)


    More articles to cheer you up:

    First brilliant reply in form of an open letter from MEP to Sir John Major here:

    Dear Sir John,

    I am sure you will remember the memorable night in Huntingdon — in 1978 I think — when I had the privilege of voting for you as the Conservative Candidate for the Huntingdon Constituency. I believe we have met once or twice since.

    I have just read your piece in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, and it is such a litany of old, tired and discredited clichés, and slogans from years ago, that I really have to take issue with some of your points.

    “Reckless to divorce ourselves from the world’s pre-eminent trading block”. Pre-eminent? The only major economic area in the world in long term relative decline? Shouldn’t we be looking outward to the rest of the world (including the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth) where the growth and the opportunities are? And who said “divorce”? We simply want to be good neighbours, not bad tenants. We want to be an independent, democratic, globally-engaged trading nation — not a province in a supranational structure, or a star on someone else’s flag.

    (Another 9 or 10 points follow.)


    Another brilliant letter here:

    It is Sir John Major who is suffering from fantasies over the EU, and I can see why. He wants to blank out that it was our exit from the ERM in 1992 that set up twelve years of strong economic growth; not EU membership as he claims. In fact since 2004 our living standards have fallen and never recovered.

    Does he think we have any hope of resolving the housing crisis unless we can control our borders by leaving the EU? Does he imagine it will be possible to maintain a cohesive society by ending wage compression and reducing the pay gap without doing so? How are our SMEs going to provide the jobs we need without removing the tourniquet that EU regulations impose upon them? And how does he think we are going to protect ourselves once the EU has absorbed GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 into some new central incompetence? Indeed Brexit may well set up a new devaluation with all the consequent benefits we enjoyed after the exit from the ERM.


    Finally, the CBI has admitted defeat – and the economic case against Brexit is collapsing


  60. Bazman
    March 23, 2016

    Where is my post about the Tories support in general of regressive VAT and their heading towards the ten quid loaf and zero tax Bentleys to fund a no income tax regime? It would help the poor no doubt would be the line.
    I put a question to my local MP for Huntingdon Jonathan Djanogly on the 10th of this month as to why he was on the road to Domestos about cuts to a local hospital when in fact he has supported all other cuts and asked for help with my PIP problem. He said he would take a look so sent the main details. Didn’t hear anything back yet and I suspect I will not. Due to the the budget fiasco like all Tory MP’s he will not be touching that one with a barge pole.
    The disabled do not vote Tory and this is why. Would a black man vote for the Ku Klux Klan?

  61. Margaret
    March 24, 2016

    Until Europe is a safer place I certainly won’t be going on any more summer holidays , especially to Greece.

  62. Bazman
    March 25, 2016

    Lets tackle the main point of this post The fact that the Tories are against increasing the price of energy saving equipment and materials via taxation.
    The Tories do not believe in energy saving and the technology associated with it as they do not believe in global warming and have a religious view that no matter what is done to the environment it will always self balance for the good. Much as they believe in financial Darwinism except for themselves of course.
    The lies misinformation and equating of the use of more efficient lighting being a communist plot and the light given off being dangerous and the bulb packed with pollutants put out consistently by the Conservative right wing press. Any efficiency saving being bad is the thread. LED’s are now better than incandescent. Why are you still using them? Ask yourself and ask yourself as their price falls, but eventually against your entrenched right wing beliefs you will use them as you stopped using candles and gas lights dragged into the future from a England that does not exist or ever did, then singing about scientific progress.
    The efficiency of solar panels being no better than in the 70’s. Swanson’s law says different. Their viability in Britain is not the question its the fact that they are even being used is the problem as seen in some parts of Australia where they are extremely viable. The energy companies are calling for more taxes on them as the are unfair competition!
    Energy facts continuously put forward but wilful ignorance prevents belief.
    Right wing millionaires who are dead against any subsidy take massive subsidies in the UK no doubt supported by their right wing anti green chums maybe this is why they are against any rise in taxes on green products or maybe are hoping that the secret diesel generator farms they have invested in due to a messed up energy policy will pay dividends. Vested interest all the way.
    What has the Tory government do to support more energy efficient housing. Except to make the houses smaller with smaller windows often illegally.
    Too expensive! Red tape! Interference! The building companies bleat as the build Model T houses instead of the latest BMW’s at ever increasing prices and more shoddy standards.
    Tories are not against tax increases or energy inefficiency as long as it does not effect themselves or effect their right wing self serving agenda is the lesson you all need to learn.

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