Skip to main content

Eu Tax Co-Ordination

Volume 301: debated on Thursday 27 November 1997

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


If he will make a statement on his Department's policy towards the European Union paper "Towards Tax Co-ordination in the European Union". [16597]

The Government deposited an explanatory memorandum on 17 November on the Commission communication of 5 November 1997, "A Package to Tackle Harmful Tax Competition in The European Union." The issue was debated yesterday in European Standing Committee B.

This European Union proposal, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer intends to agree to at Brussels on Monday, breaches the principle that the EU does not involve itself in direct tax policies of member states. Why do the Government think that it is necessary to do this?

As I explained repeatedly to the hon. Gentleman yesterday in Committee, the code is a voluntary agreement. There are no sanctions and it is not legally binding. It specifically recognises national competence in direct tax issues. There is no giving away of sovereignty on this issue. The hon. Gentleman is simply wrong.

Does my hon. Friend agree with the Leader of the Opposition when he says that we should realise a single currency for the next Parliament, or does she think that the shadow Chancellor is right when he says that we should not bind future Parliaments?

It will not surprise my hon. Friend to hear that I agree with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and with the Government's policy on that issue.