What’s more important to the average EU Commissioner, trendy green projects or the principle that higher and more homogenous taxes are a good thing?
Although I suspect it was a close call, it seems that the latter will always win out in the end.
Brussels has demanded that the UK government stops giving a discounted rate of VAT on insulation. David Cameron has only been charging VAT of 5% on these materials in order to encourage energy efficiency as part of the “green deal” programme. The EU says that if the full 20% is not charged then they will take Britain to European Court of Justice, and have already begun proceedings against us.
At first glance, one might find this surprising, given that the EU has previously shown a fanatical devotion to the so called “green” agenda. They have pushed the idea of wind farms relentlessly, causing huge environmental damage in the process, and have used directives to make governments force people to pay more for their energy bills, thanks to huge subsidies for renewable energy, regardless of little details like whether it works. So it strikes us as odd that they would want to discourage insulation of homes, which clearly are the best way to save on energy.
The government’s real crime, in the eyes of those attempting to drag them through the courts, is not that they offer financial relief for insulation but that they do so without permission. The crime is not to comply with EU harmonisation.
After all, if the principle is re-established that national leaders can do what they think is best for their people without permission from Brussels then who knows what might follow. Next you might have to acknowledge that different countries have different needs, and then before you know it some of these countries might end up governing themselves. Any Commissioner could tell you that would clearly be unacceptable.