HC Deb 26 January 1999 vol 324 c220W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for harmonising beer duty in the United Kingdom with that of other European Union countries. [66970]

Dawn Primarolo

Member states are free to set excise duty rates at the level they feel are appropriate to their own particular circumstances, subject only to the agreed minimum rates. This was the basis of the agreement reached by all member states in ECOFIN in 1992 and achieved harmonisation to the extent necessary for completion of the Single Market. Nevertheless, the UK continues to argue for a levelling up of most minimum rates but recognises that progress is likely only in the long term.