HC Deb 27 January 1997 vol 289 c11
13. Mr. Gerrard

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he last met the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss the co-ordination and presentation of Government policies relating to VAT. [11125]

The Deputy Prime Minister

Labour Members have not recovered from my last reply. I shall try another one.

I keep in regular touch with my right hon. and learned Friend to consider how the Government can further the success of their economic and fiscal policies.

Mr. Gerrard

Will the Deputy Prime Minister confirm from his discussions with the Chancellor that the Chancellor has several times clearly stated his view that the VAT tax base is too narrow and specifically mentioned food, children's clothing and newspapers as candidates for the extension of VAT? Precisely which of those is being considered for VAT?

The Deputy Prime Minister

The Chancellor has made his position absolutely clear, despite Labour attacks suggesting that he proposes to extend VAT to food. Both my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer have said that that is simply not the case. Nothing is more indicative of the scurrilous nature of Labour's coming election campaign than the preposterous posters with which it is adorning the countryside. It is extraordinary that Labour should ask us to answer questions about taxation. Why cannot it answer questions about any of its own taxation proposals?