Michael Gove pledges to scrap VAT in bid to boost post-Brexit economy
Michael Gove has pledged to scrap VAT in order to give the UK economy a boost after Brexit.
The Environment Secretary said he would replace VAT with a “lower, simpler” alternative if he is elected Prime Minister in a bid to counter Jeremy Corbyn’s “Marxist” economic message.
Writing for the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Gove unveiled his “pro-business economic plan”, including a pledge to cut business rates and halt construction on the controversial High Speed Rail 2 project.
He said: “My economic plan is driven by the need to increase investment, productivity and wages across the country, with a special focus on helping those areas and regions where productivity is lower.
“It would mean reducing the regulations which hold business back, cutting and reforming taxes - such as business rates - which put pressure on small businesses and undermine our high streets, using the opportunity of life outside the EU to look to replace VAT with a lower, simpler, sales tax."
Mr Gove, who said his “business know-how” had helped secure positive changes while working in Government, also backed plans for an Australian-style, points based immigration system.
The new economic manifesto comes as Mr Gove battles accusations of hypocrisy after he admitted to taking cocaine on several occasions while working as a journalist.
The former Justice Secretary said he “deeply regretted” taking the drug more than 20 years ago, but was branded a “hypocrite” after a Times article he had written about “London liberals” use of the drug was unearthed.
In the article, Mr Gove said plans to repeal drug laws should be resisted, writing: “The knowledge that millenial demand for illegal drugs may lead to the potentially lethal adulteration of some substances hasn’t been used to explain to citizens that the law is there for a purpose.”
He added: “There is a greater sin than hypocrisy. It is the refusal to uphold values because one may oneself have fallen short of them.”
The revelation came after fellow Conservative leadership candidates admitted to prior drug use. International Development Secretary Rory Stewart was forced to apologise after he admitted to smoking opium during a wedding in Afghanistan, while former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said he had used cannabis while at university.
But Mr Gove’s confession has provoked fury among some MPs and drug campaigners, with Green MP Caroline Lucas accusing him of “rank hypocrisy”.
“I couldn't care less about what a politician did in private 20 years ago”, she said. “What I can’t stand is the rank hypocrisy of potential prime ministers ‘owning up’ to drug use while backing policies that threaten those using drugs now with prison, and allows criminal gangs to profit.”