Treasury to review use of digital certificates

Financial secretary Paul Boateng told Commons the policy review ‘will take into account any latest advice from the office of the e-envoy’.

He was replying to a question from Tory spokesman David Lidington, who asked ifchancellor Gordon Brown would allow companies to submit online VAT returns direct to Customs without having to obtain a digital certificate from an outside supplier.

Boateng said Customs currently allows any digital certificate approved by the office of the e-envoy to be used with electronic VAT return and that only two organisations have approved products: Equifax and The British Chambers of Commerce.

He said a government recognised approval body must approve the digital certificate service.

Boateng said the government welcomed digital certificates subject to two conditions: the technical interface between the Government Gateway and the service provider could be established and the government could rely upon them contractually.

‘[We] have been, and continue to be, in discussion with a number of potential suppliers to increase the availability of digital certificate services,’ he added.

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