§ Mr. Nigel Jones
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to reduce the duty differential on (a) beer, (b) spirits and (c) tobacco between the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Community. 
§ Mrs. Roche
Any changes to the levels of UK alcohol and tobacco duties is a matter for the Chancellor's Budget deliberations.
VAT rates in the European Community (standard rates and reduced rates; and main items subject to reduced rates') Percentage Member state Standard rate Reduced rate Austria 20 10—Food; books; newspapers public transport Belgium 21 12—Food (coal only); social housing 6—Food; books; public transport; water supplies 0—Newspapers Denmark 25 0—Daily newspapers Finland 22 17—Food 8—Pharmaceuticals; public transport 0—Newspapers France 20.6 5.5—Food; public transport; pharmaceuticals; books 2.1—Newspapers Germany 16 7—Food; books and newspapers; local public transport Greece 18 8—Food; public transport; pharmaceuticals 4—Books and newspapers Ireland 21 12.5—Domestic fuel and power; newspapers; new housing 0—Food; books; pharmaceuticals Italy 20 10—Certain foods; domestic fuel and power, public transport; pharmaceuticals 4—Basic foodstuffs; books and newspapers; certain social housing Luxembourg 15 12—Fuel (other than gas and electricity) 6—Fuel (gas and electricity) 3—Food; books and newspapers; pharmaceuticals Netherlands 17.5 6—Food; books and newspapers; public transport; water supplies pharmaceuticals Portugal 17 12—Certain foods 5—Food; books and newspapers; public transport; water supplies; hotels; pharmaceuticals Spain 16 7—Food; water supplies; public transport 4—Basic foodstuffs; books and newspapers; pharmaceuticals Sweden 25 12—Food 6—Newspapers United Kingdom 17.5 5—Domestic fuel and power 0—Food; books and newspapers; public transport; children's clothing; new housing;water and sewerage services; pharmaceuticals; aids for the disabled; charities 1Taken from European Commission Document XXI/148/98—EN 'VAT rates applied in the Member States of the European Community'