§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects that the European Court will make a decision on the proposition from the Common Market Commission that the United Kingdom should levy value-added tax on children's shoes, newspaper advertising and fuel supplies; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
The EC Commission has sent the United Kingdom Government a reasoned opinion under article 169 of the treaty of Rome, alleging that certain aspects of the VAT zero rates in force in the United Kingdom are contrary to the provisions of the sixth VAT directive. The opinion includes newspaper advertising, and fuel and power when supplied to businesses, but does not include children's shoes. The United Kingdom Government do not accept the Commission's views. The issue of a reasoned opinion does not necessarily mean that the matter will be put to the European Court; that is for the Commission to decide in the light of the United Kingdom Government's response: as to implementation of decisions of the court, we are of course bound by our treaty obligations.