HC Deb 05 June 1980 vol 985 cc809-10W
Mr. Aspinwall

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will seek to abolish value added tax on pet foods which are used to feed guide dogs for the blind; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will seek to abolish value added tax on veterinary fees for guide dogs for the blind; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Rees

No. In the context of a broadly based tax on consumer expenditure, a selective relief from VAT of this nature would not, I regret, be justified.

Mr. Speller

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why value added tax relief is available on a new detached house but not upon a new semi-detached house built against an existing structure.

Mr. Peter Rees

There is no difference in treatment for VAT purposes between detached and semi-detached houses when they are supplied by VAT-registered traders. Both are relieved by zero rating.

As regards houses built by private individuals on a "do-it-yourself" basis, the special refund scheme provided by section 15A of the Finance Act 1972 enables people who build complete new dwellings to reclaim VAT incurred on goods and materials used for that purpose, but this scheme does not extend to benefit the conversion, reconstruction, alteration or enlargement of any existing building. These limitations will usually deny the refund to individuals building a semi-detached house on a DIY basis.

If my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind and will let me have details, I will look into it.

Mr. Viggers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, pursuant to the written answer given to the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell), Official Report, 15 May, column 648–9, he intends to consult the representative bodies in the construction industry before reaching any decision on possible changes to the value added tax treatment of building and civil engineering work; and if he is yet able to make a further statement.

Mr. Peter Rees

Customs and Excise has met major trade associations of the industry on several occasions in the course of its review of the application of value added tax to building work. In addition, I had the pleasure myself of meeting the industry's joint taxation committee earlier this year. I think these bodies have been given every opportunity to make their views known, but Customs and Excise is naturally willing to receive further representations at any time.

I am not yet able to say when the review will be completed or when any announcement will be made.