HC Deb 20 June 1974 vol 875 cc837-8

Queen's Recommendation having been signified—

11.2 p.m.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Dr. John Gilbert)

I beg to move, That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session relating to finance, it is expedient to authorise any increase in the sums payable out of moneys provided by Parliament which is attributable to amendments of Schedule 6 to the Finance Act 1972 relating to sums payable to or in respect of the presidents or chairmen of value added tax tribunals. This money resolution is a necessary preliminary to a new clause which I am putting down for consideration in the Standing Committee on the Finance Bill.

The new clause will provide for minor changes relating to value added tax tribunals. These tribunals were set up under the Finance Act 1972 to provide taxpayers with a simple procedure for contesting decisions on value added tax given by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise.

I am glad to say that this system has worked very well. However, the number of appeals which taxpayers have submitted to the tribunals has been considerably below that envisaged when they were set up. As a result, some of the full-time chairmen of VAT tribunals have been appreciably under-employed. Their valuable talents could be well utilised in other judicial work, and the effect of the proposed Government new clause is to remove the requirement that there must be full-time chairmen of tribunals.

This new clause must make provision for payment of salaries and pensions to part-time chairmen and this is the major reasons why it requires a money resolution. In fact, the total cost of the tribunals will be reduced by these new provisions. The opportunity is also being taken to clarify the provisions for payments to former presidents and chairmen of VAT tribunals, and the new clause will provide for payment of allowances or gratuities instead of, or in addition to, pensions.

I commend this money resolution to the House. There will, of course, be full opportunity to discuss the new clause in Standing Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

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