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Imported Works Of Art: Vat Rate

Volume 590: debated on Friday 19 June 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 1 June (

WA 10–11),

whether, as well as participating in the European Commission's re-examination of the effect of VAT on imported works of art and other factors affecting the competitiveness of European Community art markets, they will seek to amend the policy set out in the Written Answer. [HL2199]

Under the terms of EC law governing VAT on the importation of certain works of art, antiques and collectors' pieces, the UK is obliged, after 30 June 1999, to raise its rate of VAT from the present 2.5 per cent. to at least the normal minimum 5 per cent. which all other member states must presently comply with.This was a condition agreed by the UK during negotiations on the relevant EC Directive. But the Government are aware of art trade concerns about both the present rate of VAT and the possible consequences for them of an increase. They will therefore ensure that this features among the issues which are considered during the forthcoming European Commission review of the effects of VAT on imported works of art and the competitiveness of the Community art markets.