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Covid-19: VAT Reduction

Volume 674: debated on Tuesday 24 March 2020

Last Friday, the Government announced that they were deferring VAT payments for the next quarter, so that UK VAT-registered businesses will not need to pay any VAT, alongside their normal VAT returns, until the end of June. That deferral is worth more than £30 billion, or 1.5% of GDP. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs already offers help to businesses struggling to meet their VAT payments, with arrangements such as Time to Pay. In the light of the covid-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has outlined a range of measures to help businesses through the crisis, including grants, loans and relief from business rates worth more than £330 billion. The Treasury will continue to review this and make further announcements as events unfold.

Scottish National party Members welcome the actions that have been announced so far by the Chancellor to support the economy during this outbreak. Given the particular strain felt by sectors such as hospitality, will the Minister consider reducing the VAT rate they are charged, in addition to the deferrals already announced?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. He will be aware that those businesses will fall under the VAT announcements that have already been made for the next quarter and that they are also already the beneficiaries of grants of £10,000 for the smallest businesses and of £25,000 for larger ones in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors.