Taxation (Post-transition Period) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 9th December 2020.

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Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary 5:06 pm, 9th December 2020

As I have just said, I am not in a position to be talking about what is happening in the future. We have been negotiating in good faith and we have an agreement in principle. I do not believe that those clauses will be coming back, but as the right hon. Gentleman knows very well, the negotiations are still ongoing and we need to wait and see what the outcomes of those negotiations are. It would be quite wrong for me or him to pre-empt anything else that will be taking place, and we must not bind the hands of our negotiators. It is absolutely right that we all speak with one voice in this House.

Alison Thewliss mentioned GB and NI parcels and asked how consumers would know whether there was a customs charge. The movement of parcels into Northern Ireland is another important part of how the protocol will work in practice for people in Northern Ireland. That is why the UK Government will take forward a pragmatic approach, just as we have elsewhere, that draws on available flexibilities to implement the protocol without causing undue disruption. In terms of schedule 3, she gave the example of the earrings from Slovenia that she had ordered. It is worth stressing that schedule 3 deals with imports to the UK and not exports. It will ensure that UK customers see the amount of VAT that needs to be paid at the point of sale on goods below £135. For goods between Northern Ireland and GB, VAT is already charged on supplies sold by a GB business to an NI customer. When the Northern Ireland protocol comes into effect, Northern Ireland businesses or consumers purchasing goods from VAT-registered businesses will see no significant difference in costs from a VAT perspective.

Let me conclude by saying that tonight, this House has the opportunity to give businesses in Northern Ireland and throughout the rest of the UK certainty about the arrangements that will apply from 1 January next year, to strengthen the precious bonds of union that tie this country together, and to prepare this country for an even brighter future as an independent sovereign trading nation. For all those reasons, I urge all Members to support the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time; to stand committed to a Committee of the whole House (Order, this day).