HC Deb 19 January 1993 vol 217 cc144-5W
Mr. David Porter

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement outlining the discretionary powers available to local Customs and Excise officers; and what steps he takes to monitor the differences in enforcement and interpretation of VAT rules from one part of the country to another.

Sir John Cope

[holding answer 18 January 1993]: Local VAT officers have certain limited discretionary powers in relation to tax control, compliance and debt management. These are contained primarily in the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, the VAT Act 1983 and the Finance Act 1985.

The care and maintenance of VAT is the statutory responsibility of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise. This includes ensuring consistency of treatment for all taxpayers and is achieved by giving local VAT officers specialist training and written guidance from headquarters. The application of this guidance is carefully monitored both locally and centrally. Departmental systems and procedures are also subject to overview by Customs and Excise's own internal auditors and by the National Audit Office.

Dr. Marek

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the effect on the annual retail prices index of a standard rate of VAT imposed on(a) newspapers, books and periodicals, (b) children's clothes, (c) domestic fuel and (d) public transport.

Sir John Cope

[holding answer 18 January 1993]: The table gives our current estimate of the impact on the RPI of applying the standard rate of VAT to the categories outlined.

Category Percentage increase in RPI
Newspapers, books and magazines 0.3
Children's clothes 0.2
Domestic fuel 0.8
Public transport 0.2