HC Deb 27 October 1994 vol 248 cc1001-2
12. Ms Primarolo

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received concerning the extension of VAT to books and newspapers.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer receives a wide range of representations in the run-up to the Budget.

Ms Primarolo

Is it not the case that, although the Government talk about reducing taxes, they have actually increased them, the scope of VAT having been increased 14 times since the 1979 general election? Will the Minister give an assurance today that the Prime Minister's promise at the last election not to increase the scope of tax will be honoured by the Government?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

I take it that the question is about VAT on books, magazines and newspapers, and I can confirm that our zero rating is proof against challenge from the European Commission. Although all other member states except for Ireland levy VAT on books, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said that he has no plans for extending VAT in that way in the near future.