To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on HM Revenue and Customs' decision to apply VAT at the standard rate retrospectively to inclusive membership packages offered by sports and leisure trusts; what representations he has received on the subject; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this subject, although as Minister for Sport I have held discussions with HMT and DCMS officials have been in regular contact with their counterparts at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). I have received a number of representations on the issue of VAT and its application in respect of leisure trusts. This included a meeting with Sporta, the leisure trust umbrella body, to hear their concerns. I have been assured by HMRC that there has been no recent change in policy on VAT and leisure trusts and that discussions have taken place, and will continue to take place as necessary, between HMRC and businesses and organisations. In relation to retrospective charges in particular I am informed that trusts who can show that they have misunderstood the tax position in relation to their services or have been misdirected by HMRC can ask for consideration to be given to remitting the retrospective tax.