Any switch of taxation from what people earn (income tax) to what they buy (VAT) will almost inevitably have the effect of increasing the proportion of taxes paid by those on the lowest incomes. But when they need to raise money, politicians tend to prefer indirect taxes in the belief that, after the initial shock of any increase, people notice them less, and resent them less, than a line on a payslip showing how much of their hard-earned cash is being sent to the Treasury. They’re probably right in that assumption, but taxing people in a way that they don’t notice isn’t at all the same thing as taxing them in a way which is fair.
This story in the Independent, showing that the outcome of this approach to taxation is that the less well off pay a higher proportion of their income in tax when all the taxes are added together should therefore come as no surprise to anyone. (Apparently, though, it does to some.) We will never get a progressive taxation system unless the burden of taxation is shifted away from indirect taxation to direct taxation on income.