HC Deb 19 May 2003 vol 405 cc685-6
27. Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York)

What recent discussions the Commissioners have had with the Government on revision of the sixth VAT directive. [113823]

Second Church Estates Commissioner (Mr. Stuart Bell)

As the hon. Lady knows, we have made a detailed submission via the Churches Main Committee to the European Commission and we have had briefings with interested MPs, MEPs and EU officials.

Miss McIntosh

Could the hon. Gentleman possibly move things along a little further, because, as yet, we have had no decision? As he has explained, the churches are being put off by the mountain of bureaucratic paperwork involved in applying for the grants relating to this measure. Will he please press the Chancellor to act quickly to reduce VAT on church repairs?

Mr. Bell

I am grateful for the hon. Lady's tenacity. All I can say is that, if the European Commission had such tenacity, we would be further along the road than we are now.