§ 4.7 p.m.
§ Mr. John Cope (Gloucestershire, South)
I beg to move amendment no. 44, in page 8, line 10, leave out "£8,500" and insert "£9,500".
This is a simple but important amendment dealing with the level above which a trader pays value added tax. This level is known as the registration level. It is the cloud base of the tax. Below it the trader is clear, but once he is above the level his operation enters the foggy regions of VAT forms, the special scheme for retailers and so forth.
In his Budget speech the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he would raise the registration level to £10,000. The innocent bystander might have assumed that as a result of that and of the Bill which implements that promise, those traders with a turnover below £10,000 would be out of the tax and that those with a turnover over £10,000 would be in it. But that is only true for new businesses. An existing business which is already registered must remain registered unless its turnover falls below £8,500. The effective cloud base for all existing businesses is not £10,000 but £8,500.
The principle of the provision is not new. It goes back to the introduction of VAT in 1972. The limit then for new registration was £5,000 but if a trader's turnover fell below £5,000 it could not be deregistered until turnover fell below £4,250. At the beginning of the tax the effect of this provision was different. Nobody was registered before 1972 so nobody with a turnover under £5,000 needed to register.
Today every trader with a turnover of over £7,500 is registered. Those with a turnover of over £8,500 cannot deregister unless the amendment is carried. Without the amendment every trader with a turnover of over £8,500 will still be en- 1520 meshed in the tax. The £10,000 limit will apply only to new or fast-growing companies.
My hon. Friends and I have gone some way to try to meet the Government in the hope of persuading them to accept the amendment. We propose a deregistration level of £9,500. In other words, we have proposed that the original deregistration margin should be lowered from £750, which it was originally, to £500. If unamended the Bill proposes to increase it to £1,500.
If the amendment is carried, I do not expect that a vast army of traders will deregister only to reregister again very soon on having gone over the £10,000 limit. I do not believe that there is a vast army of so-called yo-yo traders who go in and out in this way. Traders would remain registered voluntarily if they were likely soon to exceed the £10,000 limit, and they would know as well as anyone whether that would happen. It would be most helpful if the Financial Secretary could give us the numbers of traders who in the past have gone in and out again in that way. I do not believe that the number is as large as it might at first seem.
It has been increasingly realised that the so-called compliance costs of VAT—the expenses involved to the taxpayer, to the registered trader and to his customers in filling out the forms and so on—are very high, particularly for traders with a small turnover. In many such cases the compliance costs are higher than the tax collected, and great attention is being paid by the Customs and Excise and others outside to finding ways of simplifying the tax. In its wisdom the Chair did not select new clause No. 62 which I and and one of my hon. Friends tabled which would have gone a long way to simplifying the tax. That, however, is another matter which I had better not pursue too far.
Lest anyone should be concerned, I do not think that anything in the Common Market rules relating to VAT inhibits us from raising the deregistration limit, the effective cloud base of the tax, not only to £9,500, as proposed by the amendment, but to £10,000 or even more if we wished.
My hon. Friends and I, in proposing the amendment, have sought to be 1521 reasonable. I hope that the Government will accept the amendment and that it will commend itself to the House.
§ Mr. Douglas Crawford (Perth and East Perthshire)
The Scottish National Party has always sought in this House to raise the basic threshold at which VAT becomes payable. When it stood at £5,000 we sought to increase it to £7,500. When it was £7,500 we sought to raise it to £10,000. Now it is £10,000 we would wish to raise it further. As usual on most matters connected with these Bills, we were opposed by the Government, and the Conservatives abstained. I am delighted that the Conservatives are apparently prepared to press this matter to a vote.
This issue concerns a vital part of industry—the small entrepreneur and trader. We have all heard horrific stories from our constituencies of chemists and other small traders burning the midnight or Sunday afternoon oil working out VAT returns. I accept the point raised by the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Cope) about the number of yo-yo traders, or at least the lack of such people. I agree that they are unlikely to be a marked phenomenon.
The point here is one of principle. Perhaps the Financial Secretary will give us an indication of what the amendment would cost. I am sure that the amount would be very small. Goodness knows, the cloud base of £9,500 is low enough. We shall be happy to support the amendment.
§ Mr. Tony Newton (Braintree)
I, too, support the amendment. It is relevant to an argument that I advanced in Standing Committee on the general issue of qualification for deregistration from VAT. My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Cope) has concentrated on the annual figure for deregistration—the fact that turnover has to fall to £1,500 below the £10,000 registration figure. As I explained in Standing Committee, to the surprise of some hon. Members, a more complicated situation could arise because of the difference between the annual deregistration limit of £8,500, and the quarterly deregistration limit which is £2,500—exactly a quarter of the annual registration limit.
1522 I apologise for the complexity of the argument, but it is necessary to put these facts to show that it is possible for a trader to be for several years below the annual deregistration threshold of £8,500 but, if he has a seasonal trade, occasionally to rise above the £2,500 in one quarter. The effect of having a relatively high turnover in one quarter of the year can be to keep him permanently trapped inside the VAT system. He is below the annual deregistration limit, but because he is not consistently below the quarterly limit he is forced to remain registered.
It may be said that my case is farfetched and that it is but a theoretical possibility. However, I have a constituent to whom this has happened. He was below the annual registration and deregistration levels. However, his trade was seasonal, and in one quarter every year he rose above the quarterly deregistration limit and he could not escape from the system. The Customs and Excise demanded substantial sums from him for payment of VAT over a number of years. His problem was ultimately resolved because the Customs and Excise adopted a reasonable attitude after I had written to it about the matter. Earlier changes in the VAT figures rescued him from his plight.
One way of dealing with this situation is to narrow the gap between the registration threshold and the deregistration threshold. My hon. Friend's amendment would help and I am glad to support it.
§ Mrs. Winifred Ewing (Moray and Nairn)
I wish to support the amendent and to associate myself with the arguments whicht have been advanced, particularly that put forward by the hon. Member for Braintree (Mr. Newton). I shall offer the Minister an example from my constituency which is similar to the horrors described by the hon. Member for Braintree. My constituent was a taxi proprietor. He was an honest man and, being uncertain whether he would exceed the £10,000 limit and not wishing to break the law, he registered. He did not achieve the amount of turnover for which he had hoped and he has since encountered difficulties. He has had to reduce his car fleet from two vehicles to one, and now he 1523 finds that the one advantage he had anticipated of shedding the complexities of VAT will not be achieved.
It is the fair man who will be penalised. That must be a bad principle to guide the Inland Revenue. I should like some clarification. What does the Inland Revenue do to put such injustices right? Normally if tax is overpaid or underpaid in one year the matter can be adjusted in subsequent years by claims either way. Is there not some method of putting this right, or is a taxpayer to be kept in a permanent trap? It is impertinent to use the possibility of a few people being yo-yo traders as a yardstick for a section of some of the most industrious workers in society.
In Scotland, the self-employed and small business sector is vital to combat depopulation. There are six times as many small traders per head in Scotland as in England. If they go out of business in a small community, the whole community suffers. If a small shop closes, a village can die. If the garage stops selling petrol, there is no village because no one wants to live there; then there are no children, so the school closes.
All over the great valleys in my constituency I could show the Financial Secretary such villages and communities. He would be as saddened by them as I am.
As a class, these people have many penalties to bear. They are already tax collectors and form fillers for the Government. To penalise them still further will increase not only depopulation but unemployment. They are discouraged from taking on more staff if they are permanently worried about these matters. The picture is bad enough already without making it worse. I strongly urge the Minister to reconsider the plight of people such as my constituents.
§ Mr. Richard Page (Workington)
In supporting the amendment, I think that we should initially consider it in a slightly broader context. At first sight, it does not seem overwhelmingly important, but if we consider it as a strand of the rope which ties the hands of our small and middle-sized businesses, we can see that it is vital to slacken the strand or to break it altogether.
1524 The small and medium business, the self-employed and the professional man make a contribution to our GNP without which our economy would collapse. This sector is important, but we are not as successful here as the rest of the EEC, where smaller businesses dominate the economy and make a far greater contribution. Thus, our smaller businesses need to be encouraged and revitalised to provide the expansion of our economy and, hopefully, the future improvements of our hospitals, schools and social services which are so vital.
In that light, the amendment becomes far more important. It should be one of a series of relaxations in this area. Now that the Government are converted to the cause of smaller businesses, I hope that they will allow the necessary relaxation when it comes to the vote.
I wish that we could follow the example of the Continent and give this sector a far snappier and "with-it" title. They use the expression EMSU—the European Middle and Small Business Union. Such a name would help to bring the importance of this sector home to our people.
This sector is the only one able to provide the growth of manufacturing and services which is needed to feed our economy. For too long we have slavishly followed the cult of "big is better" instead of "small is beautiful". Nationalised industries and big companies are busily reducing staff and going briskly down the road to more and more automation. The small point raised in the amendment could help the growth of employment and productivity, and thus eventually the improvement of our social services.
It has already been said that small companies and individuals affected by the amendment are the seed corn. That is a corny expression, but we should look to this area to provide the fresh fields of activity by means of which our economy will grow.
These businesses fall effectively into two groups. The first is the small corner shop run by a widow to augment her pension or by one partner while the other goes out to work. The second group comprises the self-employed man charging directly for his labour or someone struggling to launch his own business.
1525 It is unlikely that we shall see vast employment prospects in the case of the small shop, and here I support the amendment purely on grounds of economy. In the extreme case of £10,000 turnover, assuming a gross profit of 30 per cent., the difference in VAT amounts to tax on the difference between £1,000 and £700. Bluntly, it is not worth the midnight oil for the trader or the VAT inspector's time calling once a quarter to pick up about £25 a month. In that light, is it worth all this trouble about registration or deregistration? We must be far more liberal and lax in this matter. In those figures, I have not taken into account the fact that most corner shops sell many zero-rated items.
We must give the second group—the self-employed and the small business man struggling to start—every encouragement, opportunity and hope. We must remove these obstacles. It is not worth making people fiddle around with a few pounds VAT late at night if it is prejudicing the country's future. We should let the tree grow before we start picking the fruit. I hope that the amendment will help this sector to grow.
§ Mr. David Price (Eastleigh)
I support everything said by my hon. Friends and by the two Scottish National Party members. It is clear to all of us that even now the VAT threshold is too low. The public are ant to forget that the threshold relates not to profitability or to personal income but to turnover. Average male industrial earnings are £80 a week or £4,000 a year. If one makes a net profit on turnover of 10 per cent., one needs about £40,000 turnover to get the same personal income. That is worth remembering.
Secondly, the sheer cost of administration of small taxpayers is not worth the candle. This effect goes all through our affairs. If the Government are serious about trying to reduce bureaucracy, they must be generous on the margin of taxation.
Thirdly, the other aspect of the same coin is the de minimis rule. The sheer cost of administering the bottom of the pyramid is vast compared with the amount of revenue involved.
Finally, there is the amount of "aggro" that this causes among people who have 1526 the greatest difficulty in coping with the complexity of VAT anyway.
These are entirely convincing reasons for the Government to relent. The amendment would not give much away. It would merely raise the deregistration point to nearly the same as the threshold. It seems a modest concession and I can see that the Financial Secretary is about to accept it.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Robert Sheldon)
We have had a useful debate, but many of the points made—valid though they are so far as they relate to hon. Members' knowledge of their constituents—have been concerned with the registration limit, which is not before us today. That limit has been raised in this Finance Bill to practically the highest level permitted under the Community rules.
Hon. Members have been mainly concerned about the gap between the level for registration and the level for deregistration. We have substantially increased the registration limit from £7,500 to £10,000 and the deregistration limit rather more, proportionately, from £6,000 to £8,500. Our reasons for doing so are largely the reasons that hon. Members have given.
The hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Cope), in a reasonable and useful contribution, put a point that I should like to emphasise. I believe that as people learn to understand VAT, its terrors will diminish. Some people wish rightly to deregister and we want them to do so, but for others it would be wrong to deregister because there are certain advantages for some people in staying registered.
The obvious advantage of registration is in respect of sales to other companies and individuals who are registered for tax and who can receive allowable inputs in respect of purchases from registered traders but cannot do so in respect of unregistered traders. This is slowly becoming more widely understood.
We have seen this understanding growing in the reception given to recent changes. In October 1977, as a result of raising the registration and deregistration limits, 43,000 traders were able to derigister. Out of that figure, only 9,000 1527 actually derigistered. As a result of the provisions of this Bill, 90,000 will be able to derigister, if they wish, and we expect that about 13,000 out of that figure are likely to derigister. This is an indication that the desire to derigister is nothing like as great as it was when the tax was introduced.
§ Mr. Nigel Lawson (Blaby)
The Minister mentioned a figure of 90,000 as being entitled to derigister. As I understand it, that is on the basis of the £8,500 derigistration limit. If this amendment were to be agreed and the deregistration limit were to be raised to £9,500, how many more would be entitled to deregister?
§ Mr. Sheldon
These are only rough estimates and I do not wish to be held to them precisely. However, the figures could amount to 20,000 more deregistrations, out of a total of 1,400,000 trades registered for VAT.
The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Crawford) said that a number of people were burning the midnight oil working out their VAT. Naturally, there will always be some people who are in the early stages of their business, so the hon. Gentleman made a valid point, but the simplifications which have been introduced, particularly the latest, will reduce these administrative difficulties and increase comprehension. I see this as essentially a declining problem, although it will remain with us.
Let me give a little of the background. In 1972 the deregistration limit was fixed at 20 per cent. lower than the registration limit. That proportion was maintained up to the publication of this Bill. In this Bill we increased the deregistration limit proportionally more, so that it is only 15 per cent. lower than the registration limit. That means that we have narrowed the gap in proportional terms. The reasons why have alreardy been adduced in this debate.
§ Mr. Sheldon
That argument would not commend itself to the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson). In indexation terms it is probably best to talk in percentages so that we can obtain a more 1528 direct comparison. In real money terms, as well as in percentage terms the gap has been narrowed. The deregistration limit gives an option to certain traders. Some may wish to deregister, and some may have the fears expressed by the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing) who referred to the yo-yo traders who go in and out of VAT registration. But there are problems involved in narrowing the gap. As one increases the deregistration limit, there will be people who feel that it is an advantage to deregister but who subsequently find they have to come into registration.
§ Mr. John Pardoe (Cornwall, North)
The argument is not about the gap, but whether there needs to be a gap and whether the arguments for the gap are valid. It may be that they were valid in 1972, but are they still valid today? Since the Minister made such a point about the fact that so few of those who can go in and out actually do so and the fact that they stay in and register, is it not likely that few traders will go in and out even if there is no gap at all? What estimate has he made to that end?
§ Mr. Sheldon
I shall be coming to that point. I agree with many of the hon. Member's comments. Our assessment is that under the arrangements we have proposed, about 10 per cent. of all traders who are able to deregister will reregister at a subsequent date. Therefore, 10 per cent. of those traders will be bridging that gap. The purposes of the gap is to prevent large numbers of traders going in and out of registration. The larger the gap the more one stops people going in and out. On the other hand, the smaller the gap the more one allows people to deregister.
Therefore, we have a compromise between the desire for a big gap to avoid people coming in and out of VAT liability and the desire for a small gap in order to get as many people as wish to do so to deregister. If people are uncertain whether to deregister, I would point out that some people have deregistered and have subsequently found that they should not have taken that step. That produces more problems for them and for their advisers.
There are benefits of registration which are becoming more widely understood. As people become accustomed to VAT, 1529 and as these benefits are understood, I believe that it may be right to move in the direction of the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) so that the gap grows narrower and narrower and may even be extinguished. By making a first step towards narrowing the gap and towards its eventual possible extinction, we have made a useful move. I believe that it should stand.
§ Mr. Lawson
We have had a useful and brief debate. It is a debate about the very smallest business men of all. We are referring to one-man business—the single trader. The fact that they are in that category entitles them to no less care and attention from the House of Commons than we give to any other category of business man. Therefore, it was encouraging that my hon. Friends the Members for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Cope), Braintree (Mr. Newton), Workington (Mr. Page) and Eastleigh (Mr. Price), and no fewer than two Members of the SNP, took part in this debate.
The Minister made a curious statement in his closing comments. He said that we should move in the direction of narrowing the gap further, and possibly eliminating it altogether. But we have already had put before us an amendment which will have that precise effect. It will narrow the gap betwen the threshold of registration and the deregistration figure from £1,500 to £500. Instead of accepting it, the Minister apparently is not prepared to do so.
That is very surprising. I suspect that the yo-yo trader is a largely mythical beast. The trader who is always popping in and out of registration, because his turnover is oscillating around the £10,000 figure as it now is, is an unlikely figure. It is too much trouble for him; it is not worth his while. After all, he is not forced to deregister. If he thinks that he will come back into registration, he will not go through the palaver and bother of deregistering.
The Minister said that studies showed that 10 per cent. of people might deregister and then reregister, but that does not tell us about the number who do that. I think that the numbers will be very few.
Whereas this is something mythical, what is real is the trap mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Brain- 1530 tree and the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn. People are caught in this trap. The raising of the deregistration figure is the simplest way of avoiding that trap. Having got below the registration figure people are compelled to remain registered because the quarterly requirement is too high to enable them to deregister.
I think that it is worth mentioning the history of this matter. The Conservative Opposition moved a new clause last year to raise the threshold of registration for value added tax to £10,000. Unfortunately, that was not accepted by the Government. Indeed, it was defeated because on that occasion the Liberal Party insisted that the threshold should be £7,500, not £10,000. Because the Liberal Party was not prepared to support the £10,000 threshold, the small business sector was forced to wait until this year before the Government—they often pick up our ideas a year later, but this time they will not have the opportunity to do so because they will not be in office—emerged with the £10,000 threshold.
§ Mr. Pardoe
At no point in any of his speeches on this matter have I ever heard the hon. Gentleman ask how many extra bureaucrats would have had to be hired last year to raise the threshold to £10,000. Since I was given that specific reason, I settled for £7,500 and did so in two steps. Is the hon. Gentleman interested in reducing or increasing the numbers of bureaucrats?
§ Mr. Lawson
Perhaps the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) will explain—preferably on some other occasion—why the numbers of bureaucrats required for the £10,000 threshold one year should be different from the numbers required for the £10,000 threshold the next year. The truth is that the more people who are out of VAT, the fewer bureaucrats are needed and the smaller the compliance costs. If fewer traders are registered for VAT, clearly we need fewer people to collect the VAT from those traders. I should have thought that was clear, even to the hon. Member for Cornwall, North.
Presumably the Government—a year late, as I said—decided to raise the VAT registration threshold to £10,000 because they wanted fewer people registered. The Government said that they wanted to go as far as they could, consistent with the 1531 sixth directive of the European Community. Yet here is an opportunity, by accepting the amendment, for another 20,000 traders to be deregistered—that was the Financial Secretary's figure—and that is wholly within the terms of the sixth directive. There is nothing in the sixth directive which would prevent the Government from doing that. Yet they have decided not to do it.
§ I believe that the Financial Secretary's argument was wholly inadequate. Indeed, it was largely self-contradictory. Therefore I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, South will press the amendment to a Division.
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 248, Noes 255.1535
|Division No. 260]||AYES||[4.46 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)||Loveridge, John|
|Alison, Michael||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Luce, Richard|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Forman, Nigel||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Arnold, Tom||Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)||MacCormick, Iain|
|Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)||Galbraith Hon T. G. D.||McCrindle, Robert|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Awdry, Daniel||Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)||MacGregor, John|
|Bain, Mrs Margaret||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian (Chesham)||MacKay, Andrew (Stechford)|
|Baker, Kenneth||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)|
|Banks, Robert||Glyn, Dr Alan||McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)|
|Bell, Ronald||Godber, Rt Hon Joseph||McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)||Goodhart, Philip||Madel, David|
|Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)||Goodlad, Alastair||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Benyon, W.||Gorst, John||Marten, Neil|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)||Maude, Angus|
|Biffen, John||Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)||Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Blaker, Peter||Gray, Hamish||Mayhew, Patrick|
|Body, Richard||Grieve, Percy||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Griffiths, Eldon||Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)|
|Bottomley, Peter||Grylls, Michael||Mills, Peter|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Hamilton, Archibald (Epsom & Ewell)||Moate Roger|
|Brittan, Leon||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Monro, Hector|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, C.||Hampson, Dr Keith||Moore, John (Croydon C)|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Hannam,John||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Brotherton, Michael||Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)||Morgan Geraint|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Haselhurst, Alan||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Hastings, Stephen||Morris, Michael (Northampton S)|
|Buck, Antony||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Budgen, Nick||Hawkins, Paul||Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Hayhoe, Barney||Neave, Airey|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Henderson, Douglas||Nelson, Anthony|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Hicks, Robert||Neubert, Michael|
|Channon, Paul||Higgins, Terence L.||Newton, Tony|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hodgson, Robin||Normanton, Tom|
|Clark, William (Croydon S)||Holland, Philip||Nott, John|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Hordern. Peter||Onslow, Cranley|
|Cockcroft, John||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Oppenheim, Mrs Sally|
|Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)||Howell, David (Guildford)||Osborn, John|
|Cope, John||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Page, John (Harrow West)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hunt, David (Wirral)||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)|
|Corrie, John||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Page, Richard (Workington)|
|Costain, A. P.||Hurd, Douglas||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Crawford, Douglas||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Percival, Ian|
|Crouch, David||Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)||Peyton, Rt Hon John|
|Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)||James, David||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Dean, Paul (N Somerset)||Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch|
|Dodsworth, Geoffrey||Jessel, Toby||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Jones, Arthur (Daventry)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Drayson, Burnaby||Jopling, Michael||Pym, Rt Hon Francis|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Raison, Timothy|
|Durant, Tony||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Rathbone, Tim|
|Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Kershaw, Anthony||Reid, George|
|Elliott, Sir William||Kimball, Marcus||Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)|
|Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)|
|Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)||Knight, Mrs Jill||Rhodes James, R.|
|Eyre, Reginald||Knox, David||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Lamont, Norman||Ridley, Hon Nicholas|
|Fairgrieve, Russell||Lawrence, Ivan||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Farr, John||Lawson, Nigel||Rifkind, Malcolm|
|Fell, Anthony||Lester, Jim (Beeston)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Fisher, Sir Nigel||Lloyd, Ian||Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)|
|Sainsbury, Tim||Stanbrook, Ivor||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||Stanley, John||Wall, Patrick|
|Scott, Nicholas||Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)||Walters, Dennis|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Stewart, Rt Hon Donald||Warren, Kenneth|
|Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)||Watt, Hamish|
|Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)||Stradling Thomas, J.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Shelton, William (Streatham)||Tapsell, Peter||Wells, John|
|Shepherd, Colin||Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Shersby, Michael||Tebbit, Norman||Whitney, Raymond|
|Silvester, Fred||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Sims, Roger||Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Sinclair, Sir George||Townsend, Cyril D.||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Trotter, Neville||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield)||Vaughan, Dr Gerard||Wood, Rt Hon Richard|
|Spence, John||Viggers, Peter||Younger, Hon George|
|Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)||Wakeham, John|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)||Walder, David (Clitheroe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Sproat, Iain||Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)||Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and|
|Sir George Young.|
|Abse, Leo||Dormand, J. D.||Judd, Frank|
|Allaun, Frank||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Anderson, Donald||Duffy, A. E. P.||Kelley, Richard|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Dunn, James A.||Kerr, Russell|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Dunnett, Jack||Kilroy-Silk, Robert|
|Ashley, Jack||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Kinnock, Neil|
|Ashton, Joe||Eadie, Alex||Lambie, David|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)||Edge, Geoff||Lamond, James|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)||Latham, Arthur (Paddington)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||English, Michael||Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Lever, Rt Hon Harold|
|Bates, Alf||Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Bean, R. E.||Evans, John (Newton)||Litterick, Tom|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Ewing, Harry (Stirling)||Loyden, Eddie|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Faulds, Andrew||Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson|
|Bishop, Rt Hon Edward||Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.||McCartney, Hugh|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Flannery, Martin||McElhone, Frank|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||MacFarquhar, Roderick|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||McGuire, Michael (Ince)|
|Boyden, James (Bish Auck)||Ford, Ben||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Bradley, Tom||Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||McNamara, Kevin|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Madden, Max|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Magee, Bryan|
|Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)||George, Bruce||Mallalieu, J. P. W.|
|Buchan, Norman||Ginsburg, David||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)|
|Buchanan, Richard||Golding, John||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Gould, Bryan||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Campbell, Ian||Gourlay, Harry||Meacher, Michael|
|Canavan, Dennis||Grant, John (Islington C)||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert|
|Carmichael, Neil||Grocott, Bruce||Mikardo, Ian|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Cartwright, John||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)|
|Clemitson, Ivor||Hardy, Peter||Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)|
|Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)|
|Cohen, Stanley||Hart, Rt Hon Judith||Molloy, William|
|Coleman, Donald||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Moonman, Eric|
|Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)||Hayman, Mrs Helene||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Corbett, Robin||Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Morris, Rt Hon Charles R.|
|Cowans, Harry||Heffer, Eric S.||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Hooley, Frank||Moyle, Rt Hon Roland|
|Craigen, Jim (Maryhill)||Horam, John||Newens, Stanley|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Noble, Mike|
|Cronin, John||Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)||Oakes, Gordon|
|Cryer, Bob||Huckfield, Les||Ogden, Eric|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Davidson, Arthur||Hunter, Adam||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)||Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)||Padley, Walter|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil||Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)||Park, George|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Parker, John|
|Deakins, Eric||Jeger, Mrs Lena||Parry, Robert|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||John Brynmor||Pendry, Tom|
|Dell, Rt Hon Edmund||Johnson, James (Hull West)||Perry, Ernest|
|Dempsey, James||Johnson, Walter (Derby S)||Phipps, Dr Colin|
|Dewar, Donald||Jones, Alec (Rhondda)||Prescott, John|
|Doig, Peter||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Price, C. (Lewisham W)|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Radice, Giles||Silverman, Julius||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)||Skinner, Dennis||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Richardson, Miss Jo||Smith, Rt. Hon. John (N Lanarkshire)||Walker, Terry (Kingswood)|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Snape, Peter||Watkins, David|
|Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)||Spearing, Nigel||Watkinson, John|
|Robertson, George (Hamilton)||Spriggs, Leslie||Weetch, Ken|
|Robinson, Geoffrey||Stallard, A. W.||Weitzman, David|
|Roderick, Caerwyn||Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)||White, Frank R. (Bury)|
|Rodgers, George (Chorley)||Stoddart, David||White, James (Pollok)|
|Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)||Strang, Gavin||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Rooker, J. W.||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley||Whitlock, William|
|Roper, John||Swain, Thomas||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Rose, Paul B.||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)||Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)|
|Rowlands, Ted||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Ryman, John||Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Sandelson, Neville||Thorne, Stan (Preston South)||Woof, Robert|
|Sedgemore, Brian||Tierney, Sydney||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Selby, Harry||Tilley, John||Young, David (Bolton E)|
|Sever, John||Tomlinson, John|
|Shaw. Arnold (llford South)||Tomney, Frank||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert||Torney, Tom||Mr. Ted Graham and|
|Shore, Rt Hon Peter||Tuck, Raphael||Mr. James Tinn.|
|Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon
I beg to move Amendment No. 3, in page 8, line 20, at end insert:'(4) In paragraph 11 of that Schedule (discretionary registration) the existing provisions shall become sub-paragraph (1) and after those provisions there shall be inserted—(2) Where the Commissioners refuse to act or to continue to act on a request made by a person under sub-paragraph (1)(b) above, they shall give him written notice of their decision and of the grounds on which it was made.";and in section 40(1) of the said Act of 1972 (appeals) after paragraph (g) there shall be inserted—(gg) any refusal to act or to continue to act on a request under paragraph 11(1)(b) of Schedule 1 to this Act;".'.The object of the amendment is, first, to require the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, if they refuse a request for voluntary registration to a VAT trader, to 1536 give the reasons for their refusal in writing, and, secondly, to make the refusal appealable to a VAT tribunal.
The amendment serves to make clear both that a decision will be given in writing and that there is a right of appeal to a VAT tribunal. This meets the undertaking I gave the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Cope) in the Standing Committee debate.
§ Mr. Lawson
It is regrettable that the last Division was lost as a result of the Liberals' abstention, but at least we welcome the honouring of the undertaking the Financial Secretary gave upstairs in Committee in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Cope). We welcome the amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.