Tinkering with VAT won’t make us trust the government

Should Chancellor Rishi Sunak cut VAT as an emergency stimulus to the consumer economy? When Labour’s Alistair Darling made a 2.5 per cent £12 billion cut after the 2008 crash, I called it ‘an unconvincing and expensive gambit’, on the basis that shoppers would barely notice and that ‘far more significant will be the general level of confidence as it is affected by business failures and job losses… and the general grimness of global economic news’. The same applies today only more so, given that inflation is dormant, households’ pent-up spending power has in many cases been boosted by lockdown and the top VAT-cut winner would likely be Amazon. By