David Cameron’s attempt to cut green levies is an “own goal”, Nick Clegg has suggested, as he threatened to block the Prime Minister’s attempt to cut the taxes.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he does not “fully agree” with Mr Cameron, who on Wednesday said he will next year “roll back” the environmental levies.
Mr Clegg hinted that he could be prepared to take some green levies off energy bills and on to taxes.
However, he made it clear that he will prevent any attempts to “scrap a whole system of levies”.
He said that green levies should be “stress tested” and not “rolled back” as the Prime Minister is demanding.
The green taxes, which help to fund wind farms and other renewable energy programmes, currently add £112 to a typical household bill.
The Conservatives have warned that the bill could rise to £194 by 2020.
The Lib Dems have previously vowed to prevent any fall in green taxes during this Parliament and were left furious after Mr Cameron’s announcement.
Mr Clegg was given only 30 minutes notice of Mr Cameron’s pledge. Lib Dem sources later described it as a “panicky U-turn”.
Mr Clegg told the BBC: “It wasn’t something I was fully expecting and it’s not something I fully agree with.”
He added: “I’m not frankly entirely sure what rolling back green levies [means]. If removing all green levies which help two million people on very low incomes, which help support thousands of jobs in our renewable energy sector, if that is what is meant, I think that would be an own goal.”
Asked whether he could block Mr Cameron’s plans, the Deputy Prime Minister told said: “Of course I’m certainly not going to accept simply scrapping a whole system of levies which for instance help two million of the poorest households in this country.”