HC Deb 21 April 1970 vol 800 cc235-6
29. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the administrative advantage of the selective employment tax over a value added tax, he will, in any negotiations to join the European Economic Community, make it a condition that the United Kingdom be exempted from value added tax at whatever rate.

Mr. Diamond

No, Sir.

Mr. Jenkins

Is not this one of the many reasons for concluding that negotiations on the Common Market should not begin, so that this country may avoid the possibility of suffering the grave misfortune of a successful outcome?

Mr. Diamond

No, Sir. I do not agree with my hon. Friend. He knows the Government's attitude about negotiations, which has been stated many times. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs have stated precisely our view on this topic, and, as my hon. Friend knows, we do not intend to introduce the value-added tax except in the special circumstance of entering the Common Market.

Mr. Evelyn King

Is the Minister aware that in South Dorset, which is greatly dependent on service industries, since selective employment tax was introduced, unemployment has doubled and is now 7½ per cent., an unprecedented figure? Will he, therefore, as soon as possible, abolish this odious tax on human labour?

Mr. Diamond

May I draw to the attention of the hon. Gentleman the recent report which has been issued under the name of one Professor Reddaway who makes the severe criticism that, far from there being adequate coverage of the tax, there should also be coverage of self-employed persons.