My Interventions on the Norther Ireland address – VAT

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):

When I last asked him in the House, the Secretary of State assured us that this House can now legislate for VAT in Northern Ireland, which was a very welcome assurance. Can the Minister explain how far the EU can go in legislating for Northern Ireland if we in the Unionist community are not very happy with that?

Mr Baker:

I refer my right hon. Friend to the table on page 4 of the Command Paper, which answers his question somewhat more broadly. That table compares Northern Ireland to Ireland as an illustrative member state and Norway as a European economic area state, and goes through the ways in which the status of Northern Ireland, EU membership and EEA membership differ. Anyone looking at that table can see that Northern Ireland is in a completely different place.

When it comes to the specific issue of the extent to which Northern Ireland can be legislated for by the EU, I refer my right hon. Friend to the democratic consent mechanism for the overall arrangement—the first vote on which will take place later in the year—and also to the Stormont brake, to which we could return but which we have covered in previous debates. I have known my right hon. Friend very well for a number of years; I have followed his thoughts on this issue since some years before I was a Member, and I am reluctant to give him a very specific answer on the issue of VAT. I know he will have followed the details, and the last thing I want to do is give him an incorrect answer.


  1. Mark B
    February 28, 2024

    Good morning.

    Question : Who now gets all the VAT money now that we have, supposedly, left the EU ?

    Does anybody ‘REALLY’ know ?

    Reply The UK Treasury

    1. Ian wragg
      February 28, 2024

      That’s a NO then. The UK government can’t remove VAT in energy without Brussels approval.
      Why is he reluctant to give a specific answer.
      Sold down the river again.

    2. glen cullen
      February 28, 2024

      The governments inability to clearly state yes or no to a simple NI VAT question, means that the EU is still in control of setting the NI VAT rate …..and by association the GB VAT rate

    3. Mark B
      February 28, 2024

      Reply to reply

      So now the government get even more money, my next question is, where are my tax cuts ?

  2. Narrow Shoulders
    February 28, 2024

    I look forward to the follow up written reply with the comprehensive, not incorrect answer.

  3. Bill B.
    February 28, 2024

    Mr Baker: I thank my right honourable friend for his question. I won’t answer it, because I don’t really know what I’m talking about. Next…

  4. James1
    February 28, 2024

    In other words, Mr Baker doesn’t know. How utterly appalling. Tragically symptomatic of why the current crop of so-called Conservative ministers need to be (and will be) relieved of the duties they currently hold.

  5. Bloke
    February 28, 2024

    Any country should be able to legislate how it conducts its own affairs and acts with another country, and the EU is free to do that in the EU: not in Russia, USA, Australia or any other sovereign state.
    Similarly, Northern Ireland belongs to the UK. It is for the UK to decide what NI does. The notion of the EU making laws forcing NI to comply with what the EU wants is daft: As risky as Monaco usurping control of gambling tax in Nevada; or as silly the Scilly Isles controlling tourism in the Sahara Desert.

    1. glen cullen
      February 28, 2024

      The EUs key word is Harmonisation

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 28, 2024

        aka – subjugation.

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