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VAT (Retail Sector)

Volume 550: debated on Tuesday 11 September 2012

10. What estimate he has made of the effect of the level of VAT on the retail sector in the last 12 months. (120143)

The Government aim to provide a climate of economic stability that will benefit all businesses. That would not be possible without a credible plan to deal with Government debt, and a VAT increase is an important component of that plan.

Since January this year, 42 retail businesses in Wales have gone to the wall. What message does the Minister have for Welsh business leaders who have called for a reduction in VAT to breath new life into the high street?

Retail sales growth has generally been positive over the past year. Let me underline this point: if the biggest problem faced by the economy at the moment is that we are not borrowing enough, that is, I am afraid, a very strange diagnosis.

If the Government were to adopt that unfunded mandate and the other £200 billion of unfunded borrowing suggested by the Opposition, what would be the effect on interest rates and our national credit rating?

There is no doubt that such a policy would be taking an enormous risk with interest rates and our credibility. This Government are not prepared to take that risk.