Value Added Tax

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1981.

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Photo of Mr John Heddle Mr John Heddle , Lichfield and Tamworth 12:00 am, 23rd July 1981

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received in connection with the financial difficulties experienced by farmers as a result of delays in value added tax repayment.

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

I have received representations on this subject from the National Farmers Union, the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trades Association, several hon. Members and a number of individual farmers.

Photo of Mr John Heddle Mr John Heddle , Lichfield and Tamworth

In the event of the Civil Service unions accepting the Government's latest offer, will my right hon. Friend do all that he can to ensure that the VAT office swiftly refunds the £150 million owed to British agriculture? Does he acknowledge that enormous hardship is being heaped upon British agriculture by the unofficial strike action, having particular regard to the fact that some farmers and growers are unable to offset PAYE and schedule D payments against VAT?

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

I am well aware that that has caused considerable difficulties, especially for some of our smaller farmers. Although the VAT office is not my departmental responsibility, I know that if the strike is settled my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in regard to VAT repayments, and my Department, in regard to capital grants and other payments to farmers, will take every action to get the money to the farmers as quickly as possible.