VAT increase on solar panels

Yesterday the government pushed through a tax hike from 5% to 20% VAT on solar panels. They did this to comply with EU law. I did  not support them.

What is it about Mrs May’s government that they are so wedded to the EU? We are leaving. We do not need to set our taxes in the ways they demand any more. The government says it wants to be more green, so why on earth make it more expensive to generate solar power?

I want a Brexit budget. That budget should include taking VAT off all green products like insulation, boiler controls, draught excluder and solar panels.

There is also a view in some parts of the government that we should give the EU some money after we leave if we leave on October 31 without signing the Withdrawal Agreement. I can see no legal basis for any such payment. Why do they want to sell our country down the river? Why put  the EU’s wishes before the interests of UK taxpayers?


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  1. Pominoz
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    May and the pro EU cabinet are determined to make it as difficult as possible for the new PM.

    A bit like ISIS leaving booby trap bombs as they desert territory about o be overrun.

    • James1
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Mrs May’s entire current Cabinet should be (and hopefully will shortly be) sacked. The other errant MPs who are so enamoured with the Brussels cabal will likewise be similarly dispatched by the electorate at the next GE or sooner as a result of the deselection process

      • Hope
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        Mayhab never intended to leave. All these tie ins are part of the dishonest Kitkat policy to hide true costs and ties to EU to apply for full membership after a few hard years apart. The cabinet, including Fox and zmordaunt, have willingly gone along with it. Tory poll ratings show why none of the current cabinet should ever hold ministerial positions ever again.

        Hunt keen to call a Johnson a coward, how does he explain his insipid cowardly behaviour since 2017 by going along with underhand Mayhab servitude plan?

        • Hope
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Today labels leave voters Little England! Wow, no wonder the establishment and remainers want him. He comes across wanting to do more for the losers than the winners of the Vote! What has he done or is doing to appease those Labour supporters who only narrowly lost the election? Little Hunt needs taking to task.

          Tim Bradshaw at con woman is correct today Kay burley refusing to let people criticise Channel 4 and BBC about Johnson set ups/interviews/ comments. The media out to stop leaver Johnson is now very clear. Johnson needs to get an independent interviewer and broadcast his thoughts via YouTube. The public do not want nor need Sky, Channel 4 or BBC left wing pro EU propaganda views.

          • rose
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            Little Englanders were the wing of the Liberal Party which didn’t want the Empire. Remainiacs who sneer at Brexiteers for being Little Englanders are the sort of people who also sneer at the Empire, usually sweeping up Brexiteers in that sneer. As Lifelogic would say, too many PPEs and not enough historians. Actually, there are a large number of historians amongst Brexiteers.

        • Steve
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink


          “Hunt keen to call a Johnson a coward, how does he explain his insipid cowardly behaviour since 2017 by going along with underhand Mayhab servitude plan?”

          Exactly my friend, exactly.

          Hunt is in no position to be calling anyone a coward, a real man would have told the media to back off his opponent’s private life and stop trying to prevent what should be a fair contest.

          After the way our democracy has been trashed, the very least the people of this country deserve to see is a fair contest between the two.

          But then Hunt is himself a coward, and certainly not a gentleman.

    • Jack Leaver
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I hope PM Boris appoints a Cabinet stuffed full of true leavers and the Brexit minister investigates May’s EU “negotiations” to uncover and reveal the machinations that produced the surrender treaty.

      • Alison
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Jack, I hope so too, but I think – IF IF Boris wins – he should have some of the ‘naughty’ remainers in the Cabinet, so .. they are bound by collective responsibility, and can .. erm .. misbehave outwards of the tent, rather than into it.

      • Hope
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Certainly the dishonest Kitkat Policy caught on tape needs thorough investigation including those at the top who sanctioned and condoned it.

        Why did Education Secretary Hinds not mention this on TV today when he claimed the best civil servants, diplomats negotiated the best deal! Has he not read or heard these best people speak or behave in relation to the Kitkat policy? Why is he not calling for an investigation?

        Same for Fox and Mordaunt who are vocal supporters of remainer Hunt who calls leavers Little Englanders! Hunt does not and cannot represent the majority of the country who he has shown disdain towards today. He certainly cannot represent the Conservative party members, activists and supporters who have always resoundingly polled and voted leave by a huge majority.

      • Steve
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Jack Leaver

        I agree, and I think there should be a public inquiry – and not by the same fool that led the Iraq war whitewash. This one should be led by a true patriot with absolute powers to force anyone to talk, and with the power to imprison those found complicit in attempting to dupe the country, or conspire to thwart brexit.

        Moreover, the treason law should be reinstated to what it was during WWII – the prospect of a stint in the Tower followed by the ultimate punishment would soon get the EU loving weasels ratting on each other.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Indeed. What an appalling person May & Philip Haynes with their tax, borrow, lie & regulate to death (while pushing their putrid pretending to leave the W/A) agenda and the rest of the traitors (who all stood on the last Conservative manifesto) have proved to be. Almost every decision that the May government took was 180 degrees out from what the Conservative party should really stand for. She and Hunt have even made failed to may any objection on the appalling attempted abuse of the UK/Hong Kong treaty by China.

      Now she wants to waste £ trillions more of tax payers money on worthless climate change virtue signalling. Also doubtless she will continue undermine the new negotiations once she is finally replaced.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Philip Hammond (not Haynes)

        • Hope
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Where is Hunt on China, where is Hunt on Iran? Why is he not doing his job?

          • Mitchel
            Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            On Iran,he’s sucking up to the US neo-cons.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I believe John is being rhetorical!
      We all know the whys!

  2. Mark B
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    So this is the price of membership of the Stupid Club. And to think, there are those here on this blog that support this artificial construct yet, bang on about CO2 and the environment. You cannot have it all you know!

    • oldtimer
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      I was reminded, the other day, that the charter of the IPCC, the prime promoter of the notion that global warming is caused by man made CO2, specifically restricts its research to man made influences. By design it wears blinkers by excluding the influences of the natural world which is, of course, dominated and controlled by the sun. Such has been the “success” of the IPCC and it’s hard line green agenda that we are now saddled with £billions of needless costs in a vain attempt to control global temperatures.

      • Hope
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        We need a fresh look through the Brexit party. This lot are done. Complete wasters, virtual signallers to all minority issues forgetting the majority. They also forget the bedrock of conservatism. There is no conservatism in the Tory party. They are a New Labour tribute band.

        Hinds again truly appalling on TV today.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          “We need a fresh look through the Brexit party”

          This is the only feasible way now…the current Wasteminster Government/Parliament/HoL/Civil Service can no longer be trusted!

      • tim
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        when a volcano erupts, it spews out more CO2 in one minute than the entire man made CO2 out put in the last 500 years.

        • sm
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          Then the UN and the IPCC and Greta must BAN volcanoes.


          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink


            Your satire sums up nicely the disdain many have for the nefarious and deluded UN/IPCC/Greta/Scientists, etc.

        • formula57
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          @ tim – a well-worn rumour but apparently not accurate for per “According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, while our automotive and industrial activities cause some 24 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year worldwide.”.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          That is a rather large exaggeration unless it is one hell of a volcano you are expecting.

          The scientific reality is the climates change. They always have and always will. Mankind is one of millions of factors that affect the climate many are totally unknowable. Even if you knew all these factors you could not predict the climate in 100 years time nor even what the sun’s output would be in 100 years time as it is a hugely complex chaotic system.

          They cannot accurately predict the climate for next month after all! When the soothsayers and their computer forecasts can do that let them move on to two months perhaps!

          • Martin R
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            Solar activity is biggest driver of climate. Low solar activity (sunspots are one measure) ties in with colder climate (Maunder and Dalton Minimums). OTH enhanced solar activity in the last century, an increased solar magnetic field, was marked by a modest warming. Recent solar cycles (23, 24) are showing less activity which may presage a cooling period but as the sun’s behaviour isn’t properly predictable who can say?

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


            Absolutely correct.

            However, if it fits with a particular narrative for vested interests, truth/s goes out the door.

            Corporations and their lobbyists have no shame; only their increased profits, and shareholder interests….and of course their own bonuses!

      • graham1946
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        We were told last week that temperatures would hit 30c by Weds. Comes Weds and maybe it will be end of the week, maybe not. Storms promised for Monday have not yet arrived. Yet we are told they can tell us the exact temperatures to within half a degree in 2050, but cannot in a few days time. Looks like nature does what it wants, not what the ‘clever people’ say it should do according to their computers.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          Ah well, they say ‘climate’ which is of course just average weather rather than temperature. You can for example predict the average number of 6s you are likely to get from throwing a dice thousands of times fairly well – but not what it will be for the next throw.

          However their claims are clearly totally bogus. This as with climate (unlike dice) the weather today affects what it is tomorrow and so on. Someone (perhaps even today) might invent/discover some new energy, plant or other technology that makes a huge difference to climate change or even some naturally occuring varions in plant genetics might do – how can they possibly account for these things? No sound physicist or mathematician would think they possible could. Just virtue signalling politician who read Geography.

          Anyway the climate will be rather different if something like the football pitch sized asteroid hits us on Sept 9th this year – a 1/70,000 chance it seems. Perhaps the soothsayer climate “experts” can expain how their expensive computers have taken all this into account. Or indeed any of the many others objects flying around?

        • Andy
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          Weather is not climate. Just sayin’.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            Yet when the weather is unusually hot or cold or wet or dry we get told it is evidence of climate change.
            When it suits the narrative, weather is climate.

      • oldtimer
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        To add to my comment and for those interested in the subject, Tallblokes Talkshop has a blog on recent research into the effect of Solar Inertial Motion by Zharkova. It adds a much more convincing hypothesis on global temperatures over the millenia than that offered by the IPCC.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      For those of us who wish to get away from the clutches of the EU, I recommend reading the article by David Blake in Briefings for Brexit published yesterday.

      He says:

      “To avoid this, the new PM needs a clear strategy to leave the EU on the basis of what game theorists call a non-cooperative solution – one that the EU cannot block if it is not willing to cooperate in producing a solution that makes both sides better off.”

      Perhaps someone could bring the article to the attention of our next Prime Minister.

      • NickC
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Mockbeggar, Yes, and the “non-cooperative solution” is to walk away from the EU. Something that Gerard Batten, and thousands like him, including myself, have been advocating for more than 5 years. Why? Because it was easy to see the EU is a hostile corrupt empire only interested in accreting more power for itself. As I said: if you think the EU will be reasonable, you’ve not been paying attention for the last 45 years. The only safe course is not to deal with the EU on anything substantial.

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    The WA ties us to EU finance rules and the majority of the Tory Party in Westminster agree.
    If we ever do leave, unless we get something like the Brexit Party in power then you will continue to mirror the EU.
    It looks like the Spanish will build support vessels for the RN and no doubt if we order fishery protectionist vessels they will be built abroad

    Such is the disdain parliament has for the UK population.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      IF Brexit does happen with a clean break, then the people who are going to have to pull their finger out are the Universities. There will have to be some very quick training programmes for all sorts of things – agriculture, defence procurement, transport, NHS…
      Why has nobody seen this? Just chucking money at decaying institutions is simply not going to work and Media Studies is not going to build fishing boats is it.

      • ian wragg
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Mike, Universities are not going to build fishing boats either. This is a major fault with being a member of the EU our skill base is being eroded annually to provide work for other competitor countries.
        The whole edifice is designed to benefit France nd Germany.

      • graham1946
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        No, but its a quick and easy way to get a degree that will ensure a job flipping burgers.

    • Nicky Roberts
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Ian I agree entirely with your post. I too find this bewildering. I don’t know if it is just that certain people have believed propaganda for so long they cannot think for themselves, or are they comforted by others, (who they presume to be superior) making our decisions for us, or do they genuinely believe that the UK is hopeless? That we have MPs of this persuasion I find disgraceful. Not that long ago our MPs of whichever hue would have fought tooth and nail for this country and its future success. To see May and her cabal so obsequious and submissive to the whiles of a corrupt dictatorship disgusts me. That it has come to this….

      • Stephen Johnson
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Well said Nicky,
        I like many others believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens along with the thousands of skilled workers who back and produce their ideas. We have the fifth largest economy in the world and have a history of international trade behind us with many of the worlds largest and growing economies desperate to trade direct with us as soon as we are released from the shackles of the EU.
        What we now need are the people we elected to govern us and carry out the duties we expect of them to grow a backbone and get on with the democratic vote of their citizens. None of us voted for a “deal” we voted to stay or leave, full stop.

  4. Shirley
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    The EU wants more money, and EU citizens are the cash cows. The EU gets a portion of the VAT collected in the UK.

    There is no other feasible reason for increasing taxes on ‘green’ products, unless maybe it is to protect environmentally damaging products. I wonder which it is? I guess it’s about the money.

    • Vera
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      VAT is a tax the EU created and the EU receives a part of all VAT payments – is it any wonder VAT is being put up on items that currently are on low tariffs. There would be one hell of a stink if they tried to increase all VAT rates. The EU is scrabbling around for extra funding because it is failing economically and because they can see our contributions disappearing.

  5. Cheshire Girl
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    it should also include VAT on fuel bills and Insurance Policies.

    Trust the Government to push this through, when they think people will be preoccupied with other things, and wont notice.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      We already have 12% VAT on insurance policies, recently increased by 20% by tax to death Hammond. Thus ensuring that people who take private medical insurance (so lightening the load on the NHS) have to pay 4 times over. Once for others in taxes and NI, then tax and NI on the money earned to pay for their insurance, then their insurance and then the 12% tax on top. Giving us a lack of freedom and choice and giving us the dire state monopoly of the NHS.

      Of course insurance in general is not really a good deal unless you are a rather higher risk than the average (or a fraudulent claimant perhaps). This as you have to pay your share of all the many fraudulent insurance claims, the insurance company profits, the insurance company selling cost and all the overheads plus this 12% tax on top of all the premium. Not to mention all the hassles and irritations of claiming.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        12% IPT I meant (not 12% VAT). In some ways this is worse as VAT registered companies can not even recover it against their VAT sales. It thus ends up as an overhead putting yet further VAT onto what the company sells.

  6. Stred
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    As far as the civil service is concerned, we are staying in the EU in practice and by the WA und vee vill be following zee orders.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Seems so, and lots of these retired heads of the civil service are now stuffed into the Lords.

  7. agricola
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    It is the dead hand of May/Hammond making a final irrelevant gesture to confirm their belief in the wisdom of all things EU.

    As you say all green products should be VAT free. I would go further. I would force all electricity companies to pay for solar generated electricity that goes back into the grid at the same rate they charge to supply it. I would make the capital and installation costs of solar electric generation and solar hot water generation tax deductable to domestic residences.

    Industrial engineering schemes to convert CO2 to fertilizer and mown grass to fertilizer and domestic heating gas should be encouraged via the tax regime. We could end up with pristine mown grass adjacent all our roads as a road safety bonus.

    Bring on our release date from the EU and it’s malignant priests.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Solar cells in the cloudy and northern UK rarely make much sense in economic or even in CO2 terms. They generate intermittent energy largely in the summer and in the middle of the day that cannot be stored cost effectively and needs gas back up capacity. They also need energy to manufacture, install, clean and maintain, are expensive and do not last for ever. Especially if they are on a roof, with all the EU working at heights regulations and cleaning inconveniences. But they are getting rather cheaper. They made even less sense when the government idiotically first started to subsidise them.

      • Martin R
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        Well said.

      • agricola
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Well as Tesco say “every little helps” my secretary benefits in the Midlands from solar electrical generation on her roof. Having it or not having it is a personal choice. My main arguement is that she should be paid the same by the electricity supplier as it charges her for electricity she feeds to the grid.

        For me in southern Spain solar power keeps my pool at 28c mid May to mid October and domestic hot water available throughout the year. Were I to buy an electric vehicle i would explore the cost of solar electric panels on the garage roof. You get no support for generating your own electricity for domestic use in Spain.

        Whether government subsidises them via VAT, unit cost or installation cost is their decision. Government attitude is dependant on the degree to which they believe in the desirability of a green approach to energy. I believe that there are technical/engineering answers to what we consider to be our major polluters, but government rarely understands this. I also believe that the benefit is 99% a cleaner healthier place to live. Even were one to persuade the rest of the World to follow our lead, it’s effect on climate change would be immeasurable. Climate is the Sun, get used to it. The green witterers talk as if there was no climate change until the industrial revolution got under way. What does that say about their education.

        • David Price
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          @agricola – In Wokingham I easily generate enough from a 5kW array over the worst month (Jan 2017 – 140kWh) to charge my EV for a month’s worth of driving (30kWh). In southern Spain you would be able to generate more per day over a longer annual period so it really depends on terrain and what mileage you’d need to do.

          The UK government does not subsidise solar panel installations other than VAT reduction, but that applies to various property development activities so is not particularly “green”.

          • NickC
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            David Price, False. The government (read: taxpayer) or the other electricity customers either do or did subsidise solar panels. Those subsidies range from specifying a minimum of “renewables” electricity generation (the RO), to the FIT scheme which ceased to new users on 31 March 2019 but has ongoing subsidies for 20 years.

          • David Price
            Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

            Nick – not false, there were no government subsidies for (domestic) solar panels. They mandated a FITS scheme whereby a supplier pays for generated power, if the supplier then raised prices to cover that then they would be double charging the market and would be the ones at fault.

            Subsidies for commercial power generators, whether renewable or fossil fuel based, are a different issue.

          • NickC
            Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

            David Price, Like I said: the government (read: taxpayer) or the other electricity customers either do or did subsidise solar panels. The supplier was “mandated” to pay for something it would not buy otherwise. That extra cost comes from either the taxpayer, or other consumers, otherwise the generator business would go bust.

          • David Price
            Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

            NickC – what extra cost, there was no subsidy of capital outlay and my supplier pays me half what they otherwise charge me and other customers for the power I supplied.

            The subsidies were for establishing non-domestic power generation.

            You might as well say that the taxpayer subsidises property developers like LifeLogic and others because he pays a lower rate of VAT for some elements.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        When I say “the government idiotically first started to subsidise them” I really meant the government idiotically increased taxes forcing other tax payers to subsidise them.

        Thus preventing the taxpayers investing or spending the money (generally far more wisely) and so damaging overall economy in the process.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          L/L. Agree and that means the poor subsidise the rich.

          • Mitchel
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

            Isn’t serfdom a wonderful thing?!

      • L Jones
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Isn’t their final disposal a problem too? I’m no scientist, but I’ve read in the Institute for Energy Research:

        ”Solar panels are manufactured using hazardous materials, such as sulfuric acid and phosphine gas, which make them difficult to recycle. They cannot be stored in landfills without protections against contamination. They contain toxic metals like lead, which can damage the nervous system, as well as chromium and cadmium, known carcinogens that can leak out of existing e-waste dumps into drinking water supplies.
        A study published last December (2016?) determined that the net impact of using solar panels actually temporarily increases carbon dioxide emissions, because of the amount of energy needed in the construction process. But, because newer solar panels have a smaller adverse environmental impact than older models and as their time of operation increases to mitigate the construction effects, some scientists believe the solar industry could develop a net positive environmental impact by 2018.”

        So just as they’re getting it right – it’s made more expensive.
        Is this what they call ‘blue sky thinking’?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      I do wonder how many millions are defrauded from the government (on the green feed in subsidies) by feeding back non “green” electricity back into the system and claiming it was green.

      Not at all hard to do.

      • Fed up with the bull
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Ha, ha L/L, do you mean like Drax?? Hardly green yet subsidised to the hilt.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:53 pm | Permalink


      • David Price
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic – FITS readings are taken from meters installed with the solar panel systems, certified and regularly audited.

        I’m not saying fraud is impossible but it would take a lot of effort for relatively little return. It would only be worthwhile for large installations which would attract immediate attention if their performance profile differed significantly from other nearby installations

        You are inventing implausible chimeras to justify your luddism.

        • NickC
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          David price, I thought you said solar panels weren’t subsidised?

          • David Price
            Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            They’re not, the installations are certified for correct installation and operation mainly to ensure safety. The associated meter eadings are for the power utility to reimburse for supplied power in the same way the supply meter readings are to charge for power taken from the grid – conventional financial transactions.

            I pay around 13p per kWh taken from the grid and get around 6.5p per unit I generate, so it is the the supplier making the profit.

          • NickC
            Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            David Price, There are extra costs involved for the supplier. Unless you go into much more detail about those extra costs, including the costs of coping with intermittency, you cannot claim that the supplier is making anything like the profit you imply. And probably the reverse.

            In fact the suppliers, or other customers, or the taxpayers, are making a loss. Ofgem states: “The Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) scheme is a government programme designed to promote the uptake of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies.” That scheme would not have been “necessary”, if subsidies were not necessary, by definition. Which confirms that solar (amongst others) was, and is, being subsidised.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          Well I understand in Spain somewhere they were using diesel generator at night to light up the solar cells! Such is the engineering insanity that prevails.

    • Jon Davies
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I would force all electricity companies to pay for solar generated electricity that goes back into the grid at the same rate they charge to supply it.

      I think this would be problematic as there is not just one company involved here. A variety of different companies operate within the electricity market including electricity generators, those that distribute it nationally, those that distribute it at a district level and energy suppliers who sell it to consumers and publish electricity tariffs. Energy suppliers must pay generators for the electricity at wholesale rates and then pay network operators to distribute the energy to homes.

      It is entirely reasonable to pay a consumer at wholesale rates for the energy they export, as they are acting as a generator. It is not reasonable, or commercially sustainable, to expect network operators to distribute this electricity for free. The FIT export payments, like the SEG payments for exports that all energy suppliers with over 150,000 customers must offer from 1 Jan 2020, are effectively the wholesale electricity price.

    • David Price
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      @agricola – There is complexity and cost in supporting import of power from intermittent sources so as a solar panel user I would expect to be paid a bit less for power I export than I pay for power I take from the grid. Things might be different if I stored excess power in batteries and could then provide it on demand but this is not the case for most panel owners.

      I agree with you about encouraging CO2 to be seen as an economic resource rather than “waste” product which would also exploit surplus power from renewables. I think the notion of capturing Co2 and burying it is silly to say the least, much better to use it as a feedstock for fuels, polymers, fertilizer etc.

  8. J Bush
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I get the impression May is somewhat miffed her surrender treaty has failed and she cannot continue her sjw manoeuvrers either. However until she has to go, a scorched earth policy must be applied as a just punishment to those who want to leave her beloved EU.

    She probably suspects it is Johnson that will be voted in and is pushing as many destructive policies through Parliament as possible, to make his job even more difficult that it needs to be.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink


    • NickC
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      J Bush, Unfortunately Boris seems to have fallen for the CAGW scam.

  9. Caterpillar
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Presumably because the May/Hammond government want to make it easy for future PM Hunt to simply align to the EU and effectively pursue the WA / BRINO. (It is not yet fully clear that Mr Johnson would be much different.)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      But it is already fully clear that Jeremy Hunt would be willing to keep us in the EU indefinitely if he, personally, perceived even the slightest chance that the EU might still be prepared to improve the “deal” on offer, in the words of the bard “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow”; and he has not yet given a guarantee that he would never revoke the Article 50 notice, under any circumstances. not least because so far the Boris Johnson camp has not had the nous to challenge him on that.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Jeremy Hunt is just continuation May, slightly brighter perhaps but another No-Nation “Conservative”. A tax and regulation to death, big state, pro EU socialist at heart. Who voted for May’s putrid non Brexit W/A three times.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      What is going on? Are Hunt and Stewart really attacking leaving by the, already undemocratically late, end of October? It seems Hunt and other remainers are focussed on hostile action toward their own party, government and country – what the ..?

  10. margaret
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink


  11. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–Bit puzzled that you don’t seem to see that Mrs May’s Govt kowtows to the EU in the quaint belief that the EU will be nice to us in negotiations. As with so much, they could not be more wrong of course.

  12. Dave Andrews
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I expect the government was advised that those are the EU rules, which have to be obeyed.
    The EU has rules on national debt as well, but those rules are broken.
    The EU decides which rules can be broken, and by whom.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      No. Germany decides those things. Read Yanis Varoufakis book about the Greek crisis

  13. William1995
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    This would be a good tax for Boris to come out now straight away and say he will reverse

    • Bob
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      A good test of Boris’s sincerity.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Mrs May’s government has progressed the UK implementation of this EU law because we are still in the EU and so still subject to all the same obligations, despite what Mrs May promised over a hundred times. Moreover she expects that the UK will remain in the EU for the foreseeable future, and has signalled that she will help bring that about:

    “Theresa May the backbencher will try to frustrate any plans for no-deal Brexit”

    “Theresa May will seek to thwart Boris Johnson’s willingness to pull the UK out of the European Union without a deal from the backbenches.

    The Prime Minister has vowed to stay on as an MP once she leaves Downing Street, and will throw her weight behind stopping Mr Johnson withdrawing from the EU “deal or no deal” come 31 October should he succeed her.

    When asked if she would oppose a no-deal Brexit, a Downing Street source told i the PM “has always believed the best way for Britain to leave the EU is with a deal”, signalling she would be willing to work to block Mr Johnson’s no deal plans.”

    So her friends in the EU only have to continue to refuse to negotiate any changes to the unacceptable Withdrawal Agreement that she negotiated and they can expect to see her and other Tory MPs voting to bring down a Tory government under Boris Johnson and probably usher in a Marxist government under Jeremy Corbyn.

    Like Jeremy Hunt and some other Tories, Theresa May should be asked whether her love of the EU is so great that she would be prepared to revoke the Article 50 notice.

  15. Alan Joyce
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Was this from the same government that declared a ‘climate emergency’ only a few months ago?

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink


    Interesting to hear Eddie Mair on LBC yesterday arguing with a caller who accused him of being a remainer. Saying he could not possibly know. Does he not realise that the questions interviewers ask (and indeed the words & language they use) indicates their political views fairly clearly in no time. I would be absolutely amazed if Mair was not a remainer.

    Then we had Emma Barnett, presenting Newsnight, accusing Boris of ‘willy waiving’. Why do the BBC choose these daft, (people ed) to present Newsnight. It seems from wiki she is a member of the totally idiotic Women’s Equality Party (even more idiotic than TIG/Change UK). She was almost as idiotic as James O’Brian when he did it.

    • NickC
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I don’t think anyone could accuse Boris of “willy waiving”. Perhaps it was “willy waving”?

  17. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    And this is the Conservative party we are expected to believe will take us out of the EU?

    Ayes 247 Noes 209

  18. Andy
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Your claim is, again, not entirely correct.

    HMRC has claimed the tax increase is due to EU law – and they point to a state aid court case they say proves it.

    However the example they use is pretty spurious. Their interpretation does has not actually appear to have been tested in court. And if it were I suspect you would be proven wrong – again.

    In any case EU law can be changed. Just last week all but three EU countries backed tougher climate change targets – including all the big ones.

    It is a simple fact that some EU law is bad. The bad law needs changing. But some EU law is very good. This needs retaining.

    In this the EU is no different from Westminster. Parliament – indeed you and your party – have produced some good laws. But you are all responsible for some genuinely terrible laws too.

    The whole thing Ian much more nuanced than most of you will admit.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Well, here is the Explanatory Memorandum, which was not written by our host who therefore cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions:

      “2. Purpose of the instrument

      2.1 This instrument amends the scope of the reduced rate of 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) for energy-saving materials to ensure that the United Kingdom (UK) legislation complies with European Union (EU) law.”

      “6. Legislative Context

      6.1 These changes have been made following a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as a result of an infraction by the European Commission which held that the scope of the current relief was too wide … ”

      “7. Policy background

      What is being done and why?

      7.1 The European Commission infracted the UK on its application of the reduced rate of VAT on energy-saving materials. The CJEU subsequently ruled that the UK had implemented the relief too widely. These changes amend the scope of the reduced rate to ensure consistency with EU law while retaining as much of the relief as possible.”

      Do you notice the bits about the European Commission infraction? Whatever HMRC may think about the merits of the ECJ judgement it it is the European Commission that has told the UK government to get UK law changed.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink


      Almost a rational post from you

      Theres an easy way of achieving good laws over bad laws . MAKE ALL LAWS OURSELVES . So that they suit what we are trying to do not what 27 other countries are trying to do

      • Fred H
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        and WE could vote them OUT of office.

    • NickC
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Andy said: “It is a simple fact that some EU law is bad. The bad law needs changing.” Yes, but how, Andy?

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Because the green scam is only about tax gathering and forcing people to buy certain overpriced goods.
    Does anyone HONESTLY believe that any government cares about the Environment?
    Oh ( they say) let’s overcrowd the country and encourage fireworks,BBQs,diesel cars, loads more cars, loads more houses with more bathrooms,loads more cars,horrendous statues in the countryside and every other mad nonsense. Wage a war on hedges and trees, get folk to buy all manner of garden stuff that destroys habitats ( decking etc). And don’t those bird-chopping windmills look lovely?
    Oh Yes! That’ll really all help the environment ( wars don’t help a lot either). Never mind the horrors of 5G
    And none of this is hypocrisy because it is agenda driven…as in money and loads of it.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      And what was the point of undermining the rural economy by banning fox hunting when now without homes foxes miserably roam urban areas, mangy and likely to get run over?
      Why encourage people to have loads of pussy cats to consume even more products and then allow vets to become uber expensive? ( I believe vets are a v powerful lobby group?).
      I speak as a serial fox feeder and stray cat gatherer.
      Profits not high flown ideals are the sole motivation.
      It all stinks!

      • L Jones
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Great rant, Everhopeful! Most of us agree with most of it, I’m sure. But you’ve got a good name – let’s hope it WILL be all right in the end. We need people ‘up there’ with the right attitude and credentials, but unfortunately power corrupts.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Lol. Thanks!
          Let’s just hope that “they” never achieve their apparent aim of absolute power!

    • NickC
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful, Indeed. Greens are mostly non-technical. Consequently they are suckers for the latest scam (diesels, windmills, biofuels, plastic recycling, etc, etc) to appease their green gods.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Boris is at least making the point that we need lower taxes, higher growth and a sound private sector economy to generate the funds we need for the NHS and Schools/Education. Unlike the socialist Hammond/May wing of the Conservative Party.

    This in the Wilson Churchill mode:-
    “Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is–the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.”

    But why should the state sector have a virtual monopoly on health and education provision due to the tax system and free at the point of use killing competition. Far more freedom and choice please as to how we spend and invest our own money.

    • Andy
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      You are perfectly welcome not to use the NHS. In fact, it would be a huge benefit to everyone else if you elderly folk didn’t- as you take most of its resources.

      • libertarian
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink


        And if “elderly folk” didn’t pay for it, there wouldn’t BE an NHS. Unless you think the average 18 year is paying enough tax and NI to fund the NHS


        By the way you do know ageism and age discrimination are illegal right?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        If the NHS had not been such a greedy Marxist outfit from the outset the elderly would be able to have affordable private care.
        NHS is a nasty jealous monopoly.

      • L Jones
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Ageism again, Andy. A most unattractive trait. Why is it you cannot understand that many of us who comment here are young(ish)?

        It’s hard to believe you are so poorly educated that you don’t recognise the ‘elderly folk’ actually worked and PAID for the Health Service that they must now use (unless, like some of us, they can afford private care – and pay for the doctors’ and surgeons’ time that could otherwise be given to the NHS). They PAID for it all through their working lives.

        Did no-one ever explain this to you? Did you never read about life before 1990? Are you really so blinkered that you know nothing of the Real World?
        Rather to be pitied than censured, I suppose.

        (Unless you really ARE an agent provocateur/euse. Yes – perhaps you’re a plant. And I don’t mean that in the sense of comparative IQ. Although…….)

        • graham1946
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Not just ‘PAID’ for the NHS but continuing to do so. We still pay taxes on our pensions and on almost everything we buy. The only tax we don’t pay is NIC, but after 50 years of paying that, I would have thought we could be spared that as our pensions are a great deal less than earnings when working. Youngsters today don’t even start paying tax until at least 3 years later than we did and if they go to Uni to get a very questionable degree, very much later so they may never achieve 50 years of contributions. Andy knows very little for someone supposedly employing 30 people.

      • Nicky Roberts
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        What a disrespectful comment, and also inaccurate. Older people would do anything rather than go to hospital, in an ambulance or any other means of transport. The strain on the NHS is because we have unfettered immigration in this country that is overwhelming all public services. We have tourists coming here to give birth, without any means of claiming that money back, but let’s accuse the elderly shall we, many of whom fought in World Wars to keep us safe and independent. I find your comment offensive.

        • Fed up with the bull
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Nicky, the strain on the NHS is also not only because of immigrants but because of a younger generation drinking themselves to death with liver failure and obesity causing alarming rates of diabetes. Andy conveniently fails to observe this fact. Myself and my husband are retired but are still paying tax at the same rate as youngsters do. Another thing that Andy seems to forget. And yes, we have paid in for our pensions too!! Many young people have not paid in a penny but will produce children that the state will have to pay to bring up while they stay on benefits and get their credits for their full pension when they retire. Think on Andy before you make ridiculous statements or is it another post from you to get attention?

          • margaret howard
            Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            Fed up

            “Many young people have not paid in a penny but will produce children that the state will have to pay to bring up while they stay on benefits and get their credits for their full pension when they retire”

            How many?

            More Daily Mail headlines?

        • Andy
          Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          I am sure you do find my comment offensive. Because it dares to challenge your prejudices. Perhaps, though, you should look at facts.

          It is simply false to claim that ‘unfettered immigration’ is to blame for most of the problems in the NHS. There is no evidence of this.

          Similarly health tourism is not the problem you claim. Health tourism is estimated to cost 0.1% of the NHS budget. In contrast close to 50% of the NHS budget is spent on the over 65s. Which do you reckon has more impact?

          As for your claim that ‘many of the elderly fought in the world wars’. That is not true either. There is not one single Briton left in this country who fought in the First World War. Not one.

          As for WW2 – you have to be over 90, probably well over 90, to have fought in it at all. At the last Census 0.8% of the population was 90 or more – though this may have gone up a bit since 2011. Even so the number of WW2 veteran is now very small.

          The problem is Baby Boomers. The post war generation which grew up on a diet of The Great Escape, Dambusters and Dad’s Army. You did not experience the war. And you missed its main message.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

            The population of the UK has risen since 2000 by many millions.
            The biggest and most rapid increase in our.history.
            This increase has affected the demand on the NHS.
            To claim it has not is silly.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Andy. Your poor parents. Have you considered therapy ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Of course we are but we have to pay four times if we do! So there is no little or no freedom of choice and no fair competition.

      • NickC
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Andy, How odd – the elderly, infirm and dying use the NHS a lot. Who dda thunk it? You may not know that the young use the education system a lot too. In other incredible news the fit and healthy tend to pay more taxes, the Pope is a Catholic (although perhaps not this one), and bears don’t use toilet paper in the woods.

      • Steve
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink


        You’re wrong again. The NHS is over burdened by morbidly obese people, not by the elderly as you seem to imply.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Andy ….you’d rather we all died quietly, without troubling the NHS? Have you considered the cost to NHS of pre-natal care, maternity checks, post-natal care, childbirth, infant costs, immunisation, health visits etc? Maybe to reduce costs pregnancy should be banned. Then, with elderly dying without cost, and close to zero births, the NHS could reduce staffing … saving all round. You heard it here first. Who needs a Chancellor?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Winston Churchill non Wilson

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    JR, has the government clarified the extent to which this increase in VAT on solar panels at the behest of the EU may be expected to counteract the termination of the protectionist measures against Chinese solar panels previously being applied by the EU?

    This article from last September gave a rather strange take on that:

    “Donald Trump Just Helped Boost European Renewables – By Accident”

    “The EU accused China in 2013 of ‘dumping’ their solar panels into the European market, selling them at artificially low prices in order to shut down European competition. Brussels set minimum import duties on the solar modules and cells which priced them up to 30% above market levels. The Commission announced on Friday it will end those tariffs, from today.”

  22. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    This is patently a stupid decision and works against May’s 2050 carbon-free target passed by parliament. Perhaps the EU fan club here can explain to us exactly how we can get this VAT increase reversed ? The EU Parliament has no power to do it, so what’s the exact procedure ?

  23. Nigl
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Selling our country down the river. Perfectly put.

    In business if you want people to buy more of your product, reduce the price.
    In Government (re green energy) you put the price up. Utter rubbish

  24. Pete S
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    There is the conspiracy or cock up, theory of life. Most times it is cock up that is true. However when it comes to the EU, the conspiracy is obvious. But taking that further, it is an attitude problem. The attitude of continental countries is bend the rules/ignore the rules to help them the best. What do the burke’s in this country do. Gold plate the rules, to a point of being absurd.

    Our civil service, needs the mental equivalent of a colonic irrigation.

  25. notsosimple
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand, yesterday you devoted your whole diary to the workings of the EU and now today you are complaining that Mrs May government is too wedded to it. Only goes to show that however we move we are not going to be able to completely break free from this bloc- we are too much in its orbit- and all this talk by Boris and Hunt about leaving without the WA and then going straight for a FTA is delusional pie in the sky stuff just to get elected, as we will see soon enough when this is played out.

    So now we see Boris has brought IDS on board? IDS the great wonder who promised two years ago that the Bavarian car workers one million strong would come on side and that Mrs Merkel would crack, all nonsense

    Reply I think we need to understand politics on the European continent and in the USA. Why are you so upset that I write about them? It also shows why many of us do not want to be part of the EU, just a friendly neighbour of them.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      We will be just fine after a small period of adjustment and far better off in the long run with some real UK based democracy and nimble government outside the anti-democratic EUSSR.

      Though avoiding Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP is rather important too. Not easy given all the many remoaner traitors in the Conservative Party who lining up to destroy the party and undermine the government in any EU re-negotiation.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      notsosimple…. before you make opinions and decisions it helps to be informed. However it is clear several on here don’t waste time with facts.

  26. Kevin
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    This does seem like an egregious failure of joined-up policy. Why,
    one wonders, does the EU set it so high? For if you suffer your people to
    modify their homes to go solar and then you tax them at 20%, as Thomas More
    might well have said, what else is to be concluded from this but that
    you first make people environmentally conscious and then punish them for it?

  27. formula57
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    All too typical of the failed May government – a self-inflicted, unnecessary defeat that imposes a counter-productive measure. The UnBrexit Activities Committee is going to be busy.

  28. Gary C
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    “Why do they want to sell our country down the river? Why put the EU’s wishes before the interests of UK taxpayers?”

    Because they don’t want us to leave.

    Let’s have a general election so we can vote in patriotic MP’s that will work for the UK not the EU.

  29. ChrisS
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Is this not a perfect example of the ECJ interfering in the internal affairs of the UK ?
    If our government wants to promote green issues it is perfectly sensible to apply a low 5% rate of VAT to solar installations. Under VAT rules, we were forced to apply to Brussels for “permission” to allow this discount of 15% from our standard rate.

    Why should this be necessary ?

    Our charging 5% VAT on solar panels supplied and installed only in the UK has no effect whatsoever on the workings of the single market. It is therefore no business of the EU or anyone else. This is yet another example that proves that the principle of Subsidiarity, much promoted by Europhile John Major when he was PM, is nothing more than a joke.

    The EU wants to interfere in every facet of life in Member States. I would love to hear from the Remainers in Labour, the Green Party and the LibDems think of this tax increase! We won’t, of course, their silence will be deafening.

  30. Bryan Harris
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    A typical EU law that goes on to help defeat what they are allegedly trying to help with their climate change agenda – But how real is that when they make it more expensive to ‘save the planet’?
    Of course May had to comply with making this law – She was never a British PM because she had, like so many in Parliament, surrendered to the EU… SHE HAS BEEN WORKING FOR THE EU ALL ALONG…

    We will not see sense while this remainer cabinet are in place – We just hope Boris can do better…

  31. Fred H
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The Green party ought to be furious with May & Cabinet.

  32. majorfrustration
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    what are these people on?

  33. Pat
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that many people adopt opinions that make them appear sophisticated with their peer group, and do not bother to check the facts. Being pro-European is seen as sophisticated in certain circles, and the EU is conflated with europe. Hence we get knee jerk support for whatever the EU says regardless of reason.
    The greens are spectacular examples. They desire continued membership of the organisation which is blocking their stated objectives.

  34. Bob
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    If electric cars become popular, how long before they remove their exemptions from congestion charging and jack up the cost for battery charging?

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      No doubt because there will be a shortage of electricity, charging cars will become ruinously expensive just like petrol is today.
      When we are forced to heat our homes with electricity after the banning of gas boilers, most people will have to be frozen in winter as electricity is 6 times as expensive as gas per kilowatt hour.

      • Fed up with the bull
        Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Ian. Yes, and because we will be dependent on electricity to run our whole economy with everyone and every delivery driver having to run an electric vehicle it will lead to domestic electricity price rises and as you say nobody on an average wage will be able to afford to cook or heat their homes. Then consider a power cut and all those cars needing to be charged. Nobody will be able to get to work the next day. Imagine the chaos when nurses and critical services are affected. The government have lost their minds. The little man in the street can see it but they can’t.

        • Bob
          Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          Imagine trying to clear a clogged motorway after a blizzard with thousands of people stranded in the cold with flat batteries. You can’t pour in a can of fuel and jump start an electric car.

  35. A.Sedgwick
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Coincidentally as a bit of a personal uplift we had a quote for some exterior work to the house, not particularly needed but on seeing the VAT on the quote my reaction is why bother we are taxed enough. This reluctance doesn’t register with our economically stupid majority in parliament.

    The CP in death throes is more evident by the week with May being dragged from power making dumb decisions, Hunt trashing Boris – will either assume the role before or after an election, the majority is going and with rogue MPs who needs Corby & Co to see them go.

  36. Pete S
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    This article is really about, gov complying with the EU. Just now on LBC, Raab let out a Cabinet secret. Hunt voted to take ‘nodeal’ off the table. With EU ministers like May and Hunt, no wonder the EU walks all over us.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      How many times does it have to be said that the UK cannot unilaterally “take no deal off the table”, and for their part Article 50 TEU would not permit the EU to agree to do that even if they wished to do it?

      “Dia Chakravarty talked sense on the Sky press review last night …

      “MPs huffing and puffing about taking No Deal off the table know very well that UK can’t unilaterally do that. If we don’t agree to EU’s terms or they don’t agree to ours, only way to avoid No Deal is revoking Art 50. If that’s what they’re advocating, just be honest FGS.””

      Why does it not surprise me in the least that Jeremy Hunt secretly voted to give the EU the whip hand in withdrawal negotiations?

  37. bigneil
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Seems someone is still trying to get the EU to offer her a job at the top table.

  38. a-tracy
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this the sort of thing our MEPs in Europe could gang together and overturn with all the greens and climate change supporters in the EU, make a big scene of it, invite Greta in the politicians love her?

    Other conservatives and climate change supporting MPs in our Country need to take a really hard look at themselves increasing taxes on green products.

    • Julie Williams
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Poor little Greta, being touted around Europe when it’s all about the money, honey!

  39. Dan Rushworth
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    When you say it was pushed through, does that also mean there was no debate/ discussion outside of downing st?

    Reply No debate, and the Opposition failed to turn up in sufficient numbers to vote it down which they could have done easily.

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Don’t blame the opposition John, why did your party vote it through. You have nowhere to hide now, we can all see the traitors.

  40. A different Simon
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    They are trying to maintain harmony with the EU to give a future Govt the option of more easily taking us back in .

    That is why the Brexiteers , if they ever have real power , need to pursue a SCORCHED EARTH policy after we “leave” .

  41. James Bertram
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Sir John, if Boris doesn’t get to be PM, if we have not left the EU by 31st Oct on WTO terms + GATT24, if you are not our Chancellor – then you really must join the Brexit Party.

    Slightly off-topic (Did we, in the first place, ever have a say on putting 20% VAT on solar panels?), but just to recommend an excellent article today on Brexit Facts4EU website on our new trading partner, Vietnam, with a deal over which we have had no say or control:
    ‘There are two main points here. Firstly this is not the rights and wrongs of this trade deal, but the fact that MPs can’t even question it. Secondly here is another trade deal without all the encumbrances of EU membership.
    The next time Remain MPs are bleating about ‘Parliament having a say’, readers may want to ask themselves why these MPs never demand a say on all the vital areas controlled by the EU, and over which MPs have no say whatsoever.
    Readers may also wonder why the UK can’t have a simple trade deal with the EU, when all our laws and regulations are currently aligned.’

  42. Gareth Warren
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It seems the only work parliament will happily do is for the EU, here I sincerely hope Mr Banks campaign to deselect conservative pro-EU politicians carries on bearing fruit, these people have no interest in serving country. I personally do not believe in climate change due to human carbon, but I do believe we all should minimise our use of resources, if “green” products do that then they are good.

    On exiting the EU I increasingly am concerned Boris isn’t taking a hard approach to the EU, the idea that they would disagree to sign a FTA and instead raise tariffs sounds preposterous as the EU market share in the UK would be put at risk.

    However, I am increasingly suspecting this indeed will happen, here I would like to see Boris questioned on trade outside the EU. I would like to hear he is keen to get free trade deals with the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and others as soon as possible, perhaps even with temporary waivers for tariffs on day 1 if we are negotiating a deal for later.

    This will give us alternative import and export markets to the EU and put maximum pressure on them to sign a FTA, it also gets the media spotlight off EU-UK negotiations so parliament can get on with running a prosperous Great Britain.

  43. BillM
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    No wonder Mrs May voted to Remain, she shares the twisted logic of Brussels. The EU now encourages Greener energy by increases the tax on the green products! Duh!!
    I do get the distinct feeling that it is the dedicated europhile Whitehall Mandarins who are now running OUR country and Mrs May is the puppet at the end of their strings.

  44. Pete S
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Talking of customs, VAT, etc. In a Parl committee today, the panel experts, let it be known that the EU commission has issued an order to national gov, NOT to talk about customs issues with the UK. These are our so called friends.

    • Martinz
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      They have been briefed to not discuss anything about the future with Uk. They are not our friends now, only our pretend friends out of politeness and courtesy, talks are going on behind the scenes with Putins Russia about future Bloc expansion into the East. The EU has already given up on UK, has to be like this because they have too many other serious matters to get on with.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Martinz….. pretend friends out of politeness and courtesy? I’ve missed all of that. Perhaps politeness/courtesy got lost in translation.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Only the EU Commission can negotiate on behalf of its members. Once the UK is out, praise be to God, we will be a Third Country and will be treated the same. The irony is on the international stage, the likes of Merkel and Macron will have to sit outside whilst the grown up talk.

  45. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Good news:

    “Rory Stewart throws weight behind Hunt in Tory leadership contest”

    • Martin R
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      LoL, That’s really going to make Hunt popular with the grass roots!

    • Mitchel
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Least surprising announcement of the year!

  46. Chris
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    In answer to your last question/sentence in your article above, Sir John:
    because May never intended that we should leave properly, instead framing things so that we became a vassal state. In that situation, it would be very easy to rejoin the EU, so all the plans to keep us very closely aligned were, in my view, simply a mechanism installed to ensure we could become a full member again very swiftly and in the not too distant future.

  47. Simeon
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    My apologies for the length of this post. I appreciate that you personally moderate all comments, and am grateful for that involvement, and the investment of time therefore necessary. A delay in the posting of this comment would be entirely understandable.

    You ask, “what is it about the May government that they are so wedded to the EU?”. This doesn’t seem like a rhetorical flourish, but rather a genuine query. If this is so, how is it that you don’t know the answer, given your long standing relationship with these colleagues that spans decades?

    Also, it is interesting that you use the term ‘wedded’. Our relationship with the EU is very much like this. And of course, when a marriage ends, however amicable the divorce might be, it still entails profound change and real pain – and all the more so when the end comes suddenly, as the end of our relationship with the EU would, should we leave on October 31st. (That this would be more than three years after the referendum is not a contradiction, though it is certainly a disgrace.)

    I have read, and I believe understood, a great deal of the various interpretations of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. I recognise that there is a degree to which this is a misnomer, for there are some ‘mini agreements’ already in place. Nevertheless, there is as yet no more comprehensive agreement regarding trade, etc. and the EU’s position on how such an agreement can be reached is as clear as it is unattractive. Again, I recognise that the last three years have seen negotiations with the EU grossly mishandled by the UK, and that a sensible approach to such negotiations that put the national interest first could well significantly change the dynamic of the negotiations. But, as we know, the EU is, first and foremost, a political project, and the prospect of them making economic sacrifices to protect the political is very real. Given that the UK cannot unilaterally institute a sensible trading regimen with the EU, the possibility that a clean and proper Brexit will entail economic discomfort – of whatever magnitude – for the UK economy is also very real.

    My point is that the political benefits of Brexit – namely the UK again being a self determining nation, trump any economic considerations. This is of course in no small part due to a self determining nation having the scope to set it’s economic policy to its own advantage, necessarily boosting it’s economy in the process. Therefore, Brexiters should not be afraid to acknowledge the economic challenges Brexit involves, whilst focusing on ramming home the point that such challenges are short term, and that in the medium and long term there is the opportunity to strengthen the economy.

    I’m not suggesting that efforts should not be made to debunk the nonsense of project fear and the like. There is obviously real value in this. But insisting that there is nothing to fear, and no economic disruption worthy of mention, if only the EU puts aside it’s political ambitions and focuses purely on the economics, is not credible, because there is no way of knowing what the EU will do, but very good reason to believe that they are likely to prioritise the politics. That the UK government, and the UK political class more broadly, has indicated that it will be the one to blink in these negotiations has undoubtedly boosted EU confidence and entrenched their position further – a position already deeply entrenched because it is founded on ideology.

    The fiasco of these past couple of years has had, and will continue to have, consequences. What has been done cannot simply be undone without consequences. Attempting to unpick the tangle itself would have consequences. The opportunity to simply negotiate the terms of our future relationship with the EU has been lost. The context has been altered by what has gone before, between the referendum and now. Recognising and acknowledging this is essential to an honest appraisal of where we are, and an honest discussion about where we go from here, and how we go about doing it.

    A clean and proper Brexit on October 31st is still appropriate, with the negative economic consequences minimised to an acceptable degree. But this won’t be possible without a concerted effort to prepare the country, and perhaps more importantly, to convince the EU of our resolve. Without that, it’s possible that we might still leave on the 31st, but the manner of our exit would be needlessly disorderly. Talk of a general ‘catastrophe’ if we stumble off the ‘cliff edge’ is nonsense, but that does not mean it is either right or wise to downplay the inevitable ‘turbulence’. To do so is playing the same hyperbolical game.

  48. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Please, please, please, JR, is there nothing that Boris Johnson or MPs who support him can do about this kind of bloody stupid rubbish, on and on and on it goes:

    “UK car industry steps up warnings over hard Brexit”

    “A no-deal Brexit would deliver a “knockout blow” to the competitiveness of Britain’s automotive sector and could cost it more than £70m a day due to delays at the border, the industry’s trade body has warned.

    The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders on Tuesday said leaving the EU without a deal would lead to the end of borderless trade that could bring “crippling disruption” to the industry’s just-in-time operating model.

    New analysis by SMMT concluded that if all the 1,100 trucks that deliver some 42m components into the UK from the continent every day were held up for 24 hours, the resulting production stoppages could cost the industry about £50,000 a minute, or more than £70m a day in this worst-case scenario.”

    Please could we have a pledge from Boris Johnson that if he becomes Prime Minister he will not order UK customs officers to unnecessarily hold up imports of these components which have long been just nodded through?

    The kind of pledge which Theresa May studiously avoided giving with respect to imports of the insulin upon which she herself depends, and other vital medicines:

    Why do we have so many politicians who feel free to insult our intelligence?

    • BR
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:29 am | Permalink

      Perhaps because there’s nothing to insult?

      JIT… is about when it ARRIVES, not when it leaves. So if you expect a delay of 24 hours, send it 24 hours earlier. Or change your business model.

      Insulin delays? Don’t be ridiculous.

      You do realise that the EU have agreed that we will all be part of the Common Transit Convention? That has already been agreed.

      Please spare us your remainiac pseudo-intellectual babble?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        I think this reply must have been intended for somebody else …

  49. gregory martin
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    You do not need to be concerned, most solar panels sold are either as part of a new-build development or into ‘solar farms’ where vast areas are built on stand alone sites. These are both entitled to reclaim VAT, whether it be at 5% or 20%. It would be far simpler if all such development was zero-rated, but would destroy needless accountancy jobs.
    Many domestic installations are put in by the industry, the freeholder receiving a ‘commission’/ rent according to yield, but not financing the capital cost directly, which I believe avoids VAT on all but maintenance charges.
    The entire VAT regime is ridiculously complicated ,therefore expensive, and would be ideally an early target for reform.

  50. Jon Davies
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I appreciate you did not support this but likewise I can see no sign that you voted to oppose the bill. Was there a specific reason for this?

  51. Alex
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    VAT was an EEC invention. If you want a Brexit budget then end VAT. As for May and her Quislings there is no other reasonable conclusion but they are out to cause maximum damage to the UK as punishment for leaving.

  52. Martin R
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    An increase in VAT will surely tend to discourage take up of solar panels. Not a bad thing. The more solar panels there are the more taxpayers have to pay out in subsidies.

    Solar has a number of problems. Firstly only more recently have the panels produced more electricity than was required in their manufacture. So solar panels are effectively a form of battery but one which doesn’t deliver on demand, only when Nature decides. Worse still solar doesn’t contribute to installed capacity because that must be measured against peak demand. Peak demand occurs in winter at around six pm. At that time solar output will have finished a couple of hours earlier, for obvious reasons, if there was any power produced at all (solar output is low to non existent in winter). However in summer if it is sunny the large installed solar capacity acts unpredictably to destabilise the grid and make it uneconomic to run the conventional power stations that are still essential. And it is impossible to throttle domestic solar panel output. Even the windmills can be (and are) throttled if they over produce by feathering the blades. No similar mechanism is possible for conventional solar panels. As for pollution, mining of the materials used in panel manufacture (similarly to windmills) is hugely polluting and done at great human cost in countries which do not have the same standards we apply to industries. But that pollution is overseas and therefore out of sight and out of mind. That is not as it should be.

  53. John McDonald
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I await to see what the Green Party / Greenpeace has to say about this. They champion the EU. I thought they said if we leave the EU exactly this would happen and UK would not be so environmentally concerned – Climate Change and all that.
    It came to my attention that Man(human)made CO2 is only 4% of the total and the rest is generated by mother nature. Looks like the EU agrees with this, so no point in solar panels. Just a normal purchase so charge VAT at full rate.

  54. Martin
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I thought you supported flat rate taxes ?

    If you want a simple tax code then the more sinful items have to be taxed the same as the virtuous.

  55. Jiminyjim
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, Sir John, if you had listened to the BBC World at One, you would have heard your Conservative colleague Philip Lee giving details of the planning that he and others are carrying out to prevent the new PM from taking us out of the UK without a deal. He also referred to the possibility of joining forces with a backbench PM (from either party) to prevent Leave from taking place on October 31st, in the event of talks with the EU failing. These people are now openly broadcasting what they are proposing to do to bring down a new PM and his Cabinet.
    How on earth can your party be listening to these proposals to sabotage the new government, without doing anything at all to mitigate the risk?
    In addition, note that there was yet again not the smallest attempt by the BBC to balance the discussion,. It was totally biased – we are being taxed by the BBC for this apology of a ‘national broadcaster’

    • ChrisS
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      The BBC : Let’s consider Newsnight :

      Emily Maitlis seems to be making her Remainer personal opinions increasingly strident at every successive interview since her disastrous performance on the leader’s debate programme.

      In recent weeks she has interviewed our host, Esther McVey, Bernard Jenkin and most recently Liz Trust. On each occasion she has made her personal views clearly known, constantly interrupting almost every sentence uttered by any victims who supports Brexit or Boris Johnson.

      After talking all over Liz Trust, who stoically managed to get her points over without losing her temper, Maitlis went on to talk to Remainer Danny Finklestein to whom she was polite and helpful, allowing him unfettered opportunities to converse. The difference could not be more marked.

      Jeremy Paxman and the late Robin Day and Brian Walden were ruthless interviewers but always even-handed. During any encounter, you would find it extremely difficult to know which party they personally supported.

      Maitlis is hopelessly compromised. It’s hard not to conclude that she only keeps the job because she is a Remainer and a woman.

      How long is the BBC going to allow this to go on ? Indefinitely, it seems.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      prorogue is the answer.

  56. ukretired123
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The HoC only seems to work when it suits them and allow country to rely on the EU for direction by default…..
    It seems you can count on only a few dedicated MPs who have the. Vision and imagination to forge the required furrows of work on behalf of country !

  57. ian
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    There seems to be some disagreement over the leaving process.

    Well, like on the 29th of March only the PM can ask for an extension to Article 50 and then has to wait to see if the EU will give one and what the conditions will be, parliament and lords have no say in the matter, that because they have already agreed with the leaving date of 31st of Oct in law.

    So in conclusion, only the PM can change the leaving date with Brusells approval, they might think they can do what they like in parliament and the lords but it takes the PM to change the date.

  58. John Probert
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    What a disgrace

  59. Ian
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    That wonderful man Mr. Hunt has tweeted that leavers are Little Englanders.

    • Doug Powell
      Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that nice Mr Hunt! I’m sure he showed great restraint in not referring to us as Deplorable Little Englanders!

      Well, fellow DLEs, I don’t think statements in this election contest will come much dumber that that! It could well have cost him what little chance he had in the election! – Totally out of touch with his electorate in the shires – and with the people in the Country!

      It shows that he, just like May, has passed exams in making bloody awful decisions!

  60. majorfrustration
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    With VAT decisions like this there is no wonder that MPs might be concerned at their security.

  61. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been catching up with this morning’s proceedings of the Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee, when they had Shanker Singham and two other members of the Alternative Arrangements Commission in as witnesses.

    I was struck by part of the reply to a question from the DUP MP Jim Shannon about what discussions they had had with various government bodies, starting at 9:56:56 here:

    When Shanker Singham said:

    “… we sought to have discussions with the Irish government but we have not been able to, they have not wanted to engage with us …”

    Well, why not? Because the Irish government under Leo Varadkar simply does not want to know about any alternatives arrangements which would remove the need for his preferred arrangement, under which at least Northern Ireland and even better the whole of the UK would remain under swathes of EU customs union and single market rules.

    “Varadkar casts doubt on ‘alternative arrangements’ plan for Irish border”

    “He added that the only way he could see of being sure of avoiding a hard border was through regulatory alignment.”

  62. Steve Pitts
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    There are some scientists who have a different outlook such as Dr Ronan Connolly. I suspect many just believe in human caused global warming as it is fashionable, part of a political movement, or because they have funding. Dr Connolly has a website you can find that looks at the actual scientific evidence. I realise such views are politically unacceptable to many, but he is trying to find the truth, but once it has become like an organised religion that is more difficult,

  63. David Maples
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    They are profligate and generous with our money, these remainer philanthropists, are they not? They despise the white working class so much, they would rather give it to the French or the Spanish. They hate the English, and despise their own history.

  64. Steve
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


    “Why [does government] put the EU’s wishes before the interests of UK taxpayers?”


    1) They want us to regard them as enemies of the people and the state.

    2) They want to impose as much EU-ism on us as possible before we drain their swamp.

    3) They’re a bunch of gits on borrowed time.

  65. /IKH
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    ‘Why put the EU’s wishes before the interests of UK taxpayers?’

    Given that Solar Power is at least 6 times the cost of fossil fuels electricity in the Mojave Desert , California. Why on Earth would anyone want to use Solar Power here. By all means charge standard 20 percent VAT on Solar Panels and remove any other subsides they enjoy.


  66. BR
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    May. Sigh. “Acting PM” seems to mean she can do whatever she likes for a month.

    She thinks she’s creating a legacy — she’s actually making herself look more ridiculous to historians.

  67. ChrisS
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Forget solar and wind, whether the Greenies like it or not, Nuclear is the only way to reach zero emissions by 2050 without the whole country grinding to a halt in winter when a perfect storm of no sun, no wind and peak demand are highly likely.

    Why can’t we build a series of new nuclear stations based on an upgrade of the design used by the French for the last 57 years ? They have built 58 stations since 1962, achieving unique economies of scale and speed by building almost all of them to just two designs, of which 34 are of one type and 20 of the other.

    We, on the other hand have been trying and failing to get foreign companies to build a tiny number of individual stations at the cutting edge of technology, each to a different design. The result has inevitably been found to be hugely more expensive and difficult to develop.

    Remember that it is predicted that switching to electric cars alone will require five extra Hinkley Point stations and that doesn’t include electric vans and trucks. We obviously need a programme to build a large number of new nuclear stations over 30 years.

    Post Brexit this is surely a project of such large proportions that we should be capable of managing and funding ourselves in collaboration with international partners ?

    We can then export the resulting technology and expertise to other countries thus achieving further economies of scale..

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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