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VAT (Road Fuel)

Volume 525: debated on Tuesday 22 March 2011

13. What assessment he has made of the effect on road fuel prices of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax. (47930)

I thank the Minister for that answer. Treasury Ministers are very wrong to suggest that the calls to scrap the VAT increase on fuel is illegal and unworkable. There is precedent for it: the French President recently got a derogation from EU laws for French restaurants. Will this Government stand up for UK families who have been hard hit by the rise in fuel costs and look for derogation powers on fuel duty?

A week ago, the shadow Chancellor was saying that we needed an immediate cut in the tax on fuel and now the Labour party is saying that we should start a process that will take about seven years. That does not strike me as being terribly helpful.

In terms of the value for money of decisions taken by the Treasury, whether on road fuel tax or other things, does the Minister agree that one of the best value creations of this Government has been the increase in apprenticeships, which is widely appreciated around the country? Does he agree that apprenticeships are critical both to our growth strategy and to the reduction of youth—

Order. I am sorry, but that question suffers from the disadvantage that it bears absolutely no relation whatever to the question on the Order Paper.

May I suggest a much quicker way of changing the VAT rate without that being illegal—by pulling out of the European Union?

To be fair, if we wanted to reduce tax on fuel through the VAT rate that is exactly what we would have to do, so perhaps that is not the best way of doing it.