HC Deb 27 January 1978 vol 942 cc839-41W
Mr. Giles Shaw

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect the zero-rating of those foods currently bearing

in Cmnd. 7049 are plans. Shortfall measures the extent to which the actual volume of spending is less than the plans, but does not itself form part of the plans. It was decided, therefore, in the previous White Paper, to discontinue the practice of including in the main tables a general allowance for shortfall. Shortfall does, however, have to be taken into account in making projections of the financial deficit and borrowing requirement, and it is, therefore, allowed for in Table 8, which contains such projections.

Mr. Baker

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish a table projecting the ratio of total public expenditure to gross domestic product at market prices and gross domestic product at factor cost, in each of the years 1977–78 to 1981–82, assuming (a) the expenditure plans in Cmnd. 7049, (b) the Government's current estimate for gross domestic product growth in 1977–78 and (c) 3½ per cent. per annum real gross domestic product growth thereafter.

Mr. Joel Barnett

The figures required are shown in the table below:

value added tax at the standard rate would have on (a) the food price index and (b) the retail price index.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

It is estimated the food price index would be reduced by about I per cent. and the retail price index by about ½ per cent.

Mr. Giles Shaw

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will abolish value added tax on food in view of the Government's policy to keep food prices down and of the fact that those foods currently taxed are especially important in the diet of low-income families.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

I will bear the hon. Member's proposal in mind, but I am not hopeful of being able to accept it, bearing in mind the significant amount of revenue involved and that such an extension of our zero-rates would be contrary to our obligations under the EEC Sixth Directive.

Mr. Giles Shaw

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the yield in each year to the Exchequer of value added tax on food prices since its introduction by the Government.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

It is estimated that net receipts of VAT on confectionery, ice cream, soft drinks, nuts and certain savoury products supplied other than in the course of catering was:

(£ million)
1973–74 nil
1974–75 85
1975–76 135
1976–77 155

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