§ Sir David Steel
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he has to reduce the paperwork experienced by the textile industry resulting from the EC Intrastat classification.
§ Mr. Lamont
The completion of the single market has led to the removal of most border formalities on trade with the European Community. This has considerably reduced the burdens on businesses.
Under the new Intrastat system, three-quarters of United Kingdom businesses will have to provide only two statistics on their total trade on a quarterly basis. Larger traders will also benefit from the replacement of the previous documentation with a simpler statistical return which will have to be only provided monthly. The previous system required separate paperwork for each and every shipment of goods in the form of the single administrative document. This means that 10 million export forms will be eliminated each year, with net annual savings to United Kingdom exporters estimated to be £135 million.
The United Kingdom is required to use the EC combined nomenclature classification under Council regulation 3330/91. These classification codes are similar to those previously reported on the single administrative document except that they comprise only eight instead of nine digits.
The Prime Minister has recently announced a scrutiny review of European legislation to help ensure that unnecessary burdens are not placed on business when transposing Community legislation into national law. Furthermore, the Government will continue to press for policies which will further liberalise the European Community market, including breaking down any bureaucratic barriers.