§ Mrs. Lait
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the issue of harmonisation of specialist excise duties was on the agenda of discussions on the single currency in an official EU forum since the Maastricht Treaty was agreed; and when it is planned to be(a) during the British presidency and (b) thereafter. 
§ Dawn Primarolo
In the context of the single currency there have been no such discussions. However, excise duty rates on alcohol, tobacco and oils within the EU were discussed in ECOFIN on 23 October 1995 and at a Commission chaired conference held in Lisbon between 13 and 15 November 1995. So far as our current Presidency is concerned, and in so far as alcohol and tobacco are concerned, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave her on 12 February 1998,Official Report, column 386.