Letter: Europe does not need a common VAT

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am disappointed that the Government has caved in to EC demands for a common minimum rate of VAT. It is patent nonsense to say it is necessary for the functioning of a common market. The state governments in the US have charged different rates of tax on various goods without any problems. There is cross-border shopping to take advantage of lower prices in neighbouring lower-tax- rate states. It is an excellent incentive to keep taxes low.

The EC does not show any desire to keep taxes low and minimise government interference. That perhaps is why it is regarded with suspicion by so many. It is seen as an unaccountable, remote bureaucracy, garnering power and now our hard-earned taxes to itself with the spurious excuse of the common European market.

Yours faithfully,


East Molesey, Surrey

28 July