HC Deb 18 January 1991 vol 183 c603W
Mr. Cartwright

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it remains Government policy that harmonisaton of alcohol and tobacco duties must involve either effective restrictions or high minimum duty rates.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

The Government's view on harmonisation remains that centrally determined duty rates are not necessary for completion of the single market, but that alcohol and tobacco need to be treated as special cases under an approach based on the free operation of market forces.

Mr. Donald Thompson

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what conclusions he has come on the future structure of the beer duty following the recent consultation exercise with the trade; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

Trade responses to the Customs and Excise consultative paper have not revealed any major obstacles to the introduction of an end-product duty on beer. I have therefore decided to replace in due course the present worts-based duty by a duty on the finished beer, subject to satisfactory arrangements being devised following further consultation with trade interests. I have asked Customs and Excise to begin discussions on the details of a new system.