Except you collected that VAT from your clients, didn't you? You may have a reasonable complaint about being an unpaid tax collector, but you're not the one paying the tax.
People will pay what they are willing to pay, it doesn't matter how it's sliced. So the presence of VAT does act to reduce what Chris (and competitors) can get away with charging for their consultancy skills.
As said, tax incidence always falls upon real people, it's shared between customer, worker and shareholder (capitalist). Just because VAT is paid by the customer it doesn't follow that 100% of the incidence is on the customer.