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Value Added Tax

Volume 888: debated on Monday 17 March 1975

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the annual cost to the Exchequer if (a) the first £250 per annum of VAT payment, or (b) the first 5 per cent. of all VAT payment per annum, were refundable to retailers to cover the administrative cost of collecting the tax.

It is estimated that the costs would be about (a) £100 million and (b) £30 million a year.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, following the Council of Ministers meeting in Dublin, he will now take steps to exempt the main foodstuffs from VAT instead of their present zero rating.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if consequent on the conclusion of negotiations with the EEC, he will introduce legislation to exempt foodstuff from VAT.

No. Exemption would permit the tax to enter into the price of food, a possibility which is prevented by our zero-rating. We have always made it clear that we will not agree to harmonisation of VAT on any basis which would require us to tax necessities.