EU VAT area and pre-commencement requirements

Part of Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 16th July 2018.

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Photo of Craig Mackinlay Craig Mackinlay Conservative, South Thanet 7:30 pm, 16th July 2018

I am sorry, but that must have passed me by. I know that, to get around the difficulties that were caused by the tampon tax and the significant debate that we had in this Chamber, of which I was a part, the Government agreed to sort of equal the amount that was collected to pass it to charity. So it seems bizarre that we have not taken the steps that are available.

The other thing about going along with the VAT directives and how VAT is managed is that we have been subject to the missing trader intra-community fraud, the so-called carousel fraud, which cost this country £1.7 billion last year. It is estimated to cost the EU as a whole into the tens of billions of pounds. Over the period of the administration of VAT in its current form, it could have cost anything up to £100 billion across the EU. Are we really saying that these failed systems are something that we want to be attached to in perpetuity?

The Prime Minister has said very clearly that we will be in control of our tax policy. Just last week, following Chequers, the Secretary of State for the Environment also confirmed that we cannot actually set our own taxes as we would wish to at the moment because VAT is set in accordance with EU rules. That is another area in which we will be sovereign. Amendment 73 would make sure that, no matter what the future holds, primary legislation will be needed to do this. We cannot have the vestiges of some of the worst VAT rules that anybody could ever imagine remaining on our statute book. For that reason and given that powerful debate on the tampon tax, I certainly hope that others across this House will support that amendment this evening.