§ Mr. Temple-Morris
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any information kept by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in connection with their administration of value added tax has been communicated to the Office of Fair Trading or to any other Government authority except the Inland Revenue; and, if so, under what statutory authority the said information was communicated.
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon
Section 55 of the Finance Act 1973 authorises Customs and Excise to disclose certain information to the Business Statistics Office of the44W Department of Industry. In considering other requests for the disclosure of information obtained for value added tax purposes, Customs and Excise follow the principles laid down by the House of Lords in the case of Alfred Crompton Amusement Machines Ltd. v. Commissioners of Customs and Excise, reported 1973 WLR 268, under which there is no legal bar to their doing so when they consider it in the public interest. On that basis, they have supplied to the Office of Fair Trading the names and addresses of persons registered for value added tax who fall within three trade classifications.