Any increase in the rate of VAT will bear less heavily on poorer households than on the better-off because of the extensive zero-rating of necessities.
As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Budget increase in VAT was accompanied by a substantial reduction in the community charge. A married couple benefiting from that reduction would have to spend more than £13,000 a year on goods subject to VAT before being worse off. However far down the income scale one goes, one will find that people are better off because necessities are not subject to VAT.