§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state those treaty obligations of Her Majesty's Government that either prevented him from making or required him to make changes in rates of excise duty between 1987–88 and 1988–89; and if he will list the commodities so affected.
§ Mr. Lilley
[holding answer 17 March 1988]: There is no obligation in the treaty of Rome which requires member states to set particular rates of excise duty. But, amongst other things, article 95 of the treaty prevents any member state from imposing, directly or indirectly, any internal taxation on the products of other member states in excess of that imposed directly or indirectly on similar domestic products. Article 95 applies to all the excise duties levied in the United Kingdom.