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Taxation Bill

Volume 17: debated on Sunday 11 April 1982

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12.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress he has made in considering the feasibility of an annual technical taxation Bill to be presented to Parliament in addition to the annual Finance Bill.

The possibility of an annual technical taxation Bill was discussed in the Armstrong report. I await with interest the views of the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee on that report.

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that reply. Is it not the case that much of the annual Finance Bill deals not with the spending or raising of revenue but with highly technical proposed taxtion reforms? Is it not a matter of concern that the House is expected to accept the annual Financial Statement and send the matter into Standing Committee with only the vaguest general idea of what the Finance Bill will actually contain?

My hon. Friend to some extent echoes views which I expressed in a speech to the Addinton Society in 1977. Constraints on the parliamentary timetable make it unlikely that a technical Bill of the type that I then suggested could be introduced in the immediate future. For that reason I have continued to include a large number of important technical matters in the main Finance Bill.

Will the Government study the feasibility of presenting a "Green" Budget, such as the Institute of Fiscal Studies has just produced, setting out costed alternatives strategies? Would that not be the right way to conduct the pre-Budget discussion rather than it, remaining a secret affair between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister?

That is a further aspect of the Armstrong recommendations, that is also being studied by the Select Committee. I look forward with interest to the findings of the Select Committee.