§ Sir Geoffrey Finsberg
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what powers he possesses to veto proposals from the Customs and Excise authorities should they wish to change a valued added tax band in which any item is placed, and where the consent of the European Commission is not required.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
Any proposal to alter the provisions of the VAT Act would be a matter for Parliament. Care and management of the tax is, however, specifically laid by statute to the commissioners of Customs and Excise and this includes interpretation of the existing provisions of the Act. The proper convention is that Ministers do not intervene in such matters. Disputes about interpretation of the provisions of the Act are subject to reviews by independent VAT tribunals.