European Union (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 19th May 2008.

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Photo of Lord Tomlinson Lord Tomlinson Labour 7:15 pm, 19th May 2008

I do not propose to deal with Amendment No. 129, because its inadequacies have already been adequately dealt with by the noble Lord, Lord Williamson, and another noble Lord—I have forgotten who. They are clear. I want to speak briefly to Amendment No. 130. The noble Baroness made an interesting speech in which she took us through a series of hypotheses of what might be the position if the powers of the European Court of Justice continue to be used in the way that they are, but those examples are not in any way relevant to the hypothesis put forward in Amendment No. 130, which deals exclusively with direct taxation. There is a real debate to be had about indirect taxation: in particular, as I have said before in your Lordships' House, the indirect taxation that we have through the own-resources decision is increasingly budgetarily irrelevant. It is reducing less and less resource and it is increasingly fraud prone. There needs to be a serious taxation discussion about the role of the own-resources decision and how it needs to be replaced.

Amendment No.130 deals with direct taxation. When the Minister replies to this brief debate, I hope that he will confirm that any of the changes suggested in the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, are not possible without harmonisation methods to bring them about, and that requires unanimous support in the Council of Ministers. We are all clear—