HC Deb 24 June 1980 vol 987 cc141-2W
Mr. Chris Patten

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what savings were made in Customs and Excise staff as a result of the unification of value added tax rates.

Mr. Peter Rees

It is estimated that the current staff effort directly involved in the administration and collection of VAT is some 400 man years below the level in 1978–79. But it is not practicable to isolate and quantify realistically the savings attributable to the adoption last year of a single positive rate of 15 per cent.

Mr. Critchley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the conclusions of the review carried out by Customs and Excise of the operation of the relief from value added tax of young children's clothing and footwear; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Canavan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is considering proposals to charge value added tax on children's clothing; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Rees

The main conclusions of the report are (a) that any extension of the existing relief to benefit older children and also those younger children who are of above-average size would result in increased take tin by adults (for whom the relief has never been intended) at a considerable cost to the revenue; and (b) that alternative schemes of relief which have been suggested in various quarters would similarly involve an unacceptable revenue risk or an unacceptable burden on retailers. I accept these conclusions and I therefore propose to continue the relief in its existing form.