§ Mr. Sedgemore
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the scheme for the direct payment of value added tax by the buyers as opposed to the vendors of gold was introduced; if Johnson Matthey Bankers and the Bank of England have participated continuously and jointly in the scheme since its inception; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Brooke
The scheme was introduced on 1 November 1983. The Commissioners of Customs and Excise advise me that Johnson Matthey Bankers Ltd. was issued with a letter of authority to use the scheme from its inception. However, to disclose the extent of a company's use of the scheme would be a breach of the commissioners' normal principle of confidentiality governing the affairs of an individual taxpayer.
As a central bank it is not appropriate for the Bank of England to be a member of the scheme.