The decision by the European Commission to take the UK to court to force the Treasury to scrap reduced VAT rates on energy efficiency measures needs to be fought and the UK must win, claims Mike Foster, chief executive of Energy and Utilities Alliance.

The former government minister, who has previously represented the UK at EU ministerial meetings, believes that it is totally irrational for the Commission to challenge the UK on this issue.

“It is crazy to make it more expensive to improve energy efficiency and also reduce carbon emissions. It becomes simply ridiculous when EU member states are at the same time legally bound to carbon reduction targets. This is a legal case that that the Commission should have never brought but one the UK government simply must win,” Foster said.

He added that EU-wide agreements to improve energy efficiency can be a force for good, but pitting the UK against the European Commission on this issue, at a time of rising energy bills, smacks of bad politics, especially when the UK’s relationship with the EU is being debated.

“I’ve been to Brussels, negotiated with the other 26 member states, and at times been in a minority of one. But mounting a strong, rational and coherent argument means you can win through,” he said. “I hope our government can do this on energy saving VAT rules.”