Responding to two Lib Dem MPs – Bob Russell and Mike Hancock – voting against the proposed VAT rise in the House of Commons tonight, Ed Balls said:
Nick Clegg and Vince Cable warned of a Tory VAT bombshell in the general election but are now helping to deliver it. So it’s encouraging that two Lib Dem MPs have stood by their principles and voted against the most unfair and regressive tax rise of all.
As the Finance Bill goes through Parliament over the coming weeks, I hope other Lib Dem MPs will think carefully about whether they really came into politics to penalise pensioners, the unemployed and those on the lowest incomes.
Other Lib Dem MPs are right to call for an assessment on businesses, charities and households to be published as soon as possible. George Osborne could start by answering the parliamentary questions tabled two weeks ago by my campaign team and reveal the figures we know the Treasury have but are too embarrassed to publish.
This is a deeply unfair Budget, which hits the poorest hardest and will risk the recovery by taking money out of the economy just when we should be supporting jobs and growth. That’s why the fight to stop this unfair VAT bombshell must go on.