VAT refunds to public authorities

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 16 Ionawr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 2:30, 16 Ionawr 2018

I was not party to the discussions that occurred at that time. The simple fact is that when the Scottish Government took the decision to restructure, they knew what the consequences would be; that is the critical point. There was no question of the UK Government having been vague or imprecise on that point; we made the consequences very clear to them at that point.

The hon. Member for Glasgow Central suggested that the measures in the clause relating to VAT exemptions for other authorities in England and Wales were somehow linked to this, and forced our hand on the decision about VAT relief for the Scottish fire and rescue service. There is no link; that can be seen from what the two different elements of the clause do. Unlike the provisions on Scotland, the measures on English and Welsh authorities do not extend VAT relief where it is not otherwise available; they are simply to do with the mechanics of how authorities benefit from that relief, and absolve Parliament from having to take the time to agree each and every instance through a statutory instrument.

As a matter of principle, the Treasury would not normally look at bringing in taxes retrospectively. We should be thankful that we have now resolved this issue. I hope that as the years roll by, this will fade into the background, and we will reach a point when we can all feel that we are in a good position regarding VAT and Scottish fire and rescue.