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Clothing: Children

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will review his policy of VAT relief for children's clothes in view of the increase to 18 years of age of the requirement to participate in education or training; and if he will make a statement; (243078)

(2) what research he has reviewed on changes in the average size of clothes required by children up to the age of 16 in the last 30 years; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 15W, in which I explained why under VAT agreements with our European partners signed by successive Governments, it is not possible to extend the present zero-rating for children's clothing to clothing designed for children older than 13.

The current size limits for zero-rating of young children's clothing were set in 2001, after a comprehensive review by a working group which included representatives from the retail and manufacturing sectors.

As we cannot extend zero-rating to clothes for children older than 13, the average size of clothes for older children was not considered by the group.