As the Minister responsible for setting VAT rates, can the right hon. Gentleman tell me the current percentage rate charged on the following products: a milk chocolate digestive biscuit, a deep frozen chocolate mousse, and a Kit Kat bar? If he cannot give an answer, will he get rid of the confusion by rating all such products at the general food rate of zero?
Did the Chancellor of the Exchequer have the opportunity on Tuesday to raise with Commissioner Scrivener her reported comment that she will take Britain to court next year if we have not charged VAT on food, electricity and gas? Has he received any legal advice from Government officials on whether the Commission would have the right to go to the court to seek to oblige Britain to charge VAT on those items—which are zero-rated—under the terms of the Single European Act, which calls on member states to charge VAT at a harmonised level, as is necessary to complete the internal market?
We have received legal advice and are satisfied that all our zero rates meet the criteria of the sixth directive, which is what matters. As I said in answer to an earlier question, it would take unanimity in the Council of Ministers to alter that, and we obviously would not agree.