Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 28th October 1992.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with President Bush over the circumstances surrounding the imposition of sanctions by the United Nations against Libya; and what plans Her Majesty’s Government have to raise the issues surrounding Lockerbie at the United Nations.
The Prime Minister : The Government have worked closely with the American administration on all aspects of the Lockerbie case, including United Nations Security Council resolutions 731 and 748.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister if he will institute an interdepartmental review of the case for reducing the level of value added tax on bloodstock in the United Kingdom to reduce the difference between the United Kingdom rate and the rates levied in France and Ireland.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 26 October 1992] : The Government recognise the regional economic importance of the bloodstock industry. My right hon. Friend the Paymaster General has worked hard with industry representatives to ensure that it is not significantly disadvantaged by the continued difference in VAT rates between member states. The introduction of the flat rate farmers’ scheme and a 0.75 per cent. cut in betting duty in the 1992 Budget will help to secure the right environment in which the industry can compete successfully.
Ministers receive many well-argued cases for tax relief, many of which appear at least as deserving of a reduced rate as bloodstock. The Government believe that their long-standing policy of a VAT system based on a zero rate and a single positive rate is simple for all traders and cheap to administer.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from the General Secretary of the TUC about pit closures; and what reply he is sending.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 26 October 1992] : Following British Coal’s announcement of pit closures on 13 October the General Secretary of the TUC, Mr. Willis, wrote to me on 15, 17 and 20 October.
In replying, I noted that the issues he raised had been addressed in Parliament on a number of occasions and that we looked forward to the TUC’s contribution to the widespread consultation announced by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.
Mr. Willis also wrote to me twice on 26 October. I shall reply to these letters shortly.