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Procedure (Information Powers in Connection with Tax Advantages Constituting State Aid)

Volume 607: debated on Tuesday 22 March 2016


That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the practice of the House relating to the matters that may be included in Finance Bills, any Finance Bill of the present Session may make provision conferring on HMRC powers enabling them to acquire, disclose or publish information connected with the grant of reliefs or other tax advantages constituting state aid.

finance (Money)

Queen’s recommendation signified.


That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session relating to finance, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of expenditure incurred by the Treasury in connection with the expenses of, or payments to members of, the Office of Tax Simplification.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You, above all, will be aware that the power of this House historically derives from its right to levy taxation, a right in respect of value added tax that it handed over to others 40 years ago. Can you confirm that although the Government have not contested two amendments altering rates of VAT, those changes will be nugatory, despite having the unanimous support of this House, unless all 28 member states agree, as the Government hope they will, to accord to this House the rare privilege of being able to determine two rates of VAT on important, but tiny, items? Can you therefore advise whether the House should be enormously grateful for the possibility that we will regain this small power to affect some taxation? Or should we make it a rule of the House that should we ever want to exercise powers of taxation in future, we announce a referendum before each Finance Bill?

I am extremely grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I know, or at least I feel confident, that he will not take it amiss if I suggest, on the basis both of the content of his point of order and of the manner of its delivery, that he was more interested in what he had to say to me than in anything that I might have to say to him. What I would say to the right hon. Gentleman, who is very deeply versed in these matters, is that I can comment on the matter of fact, which is that the House has agreed to the two amendments, a point not in dispute between or us or a matter of any doubt in the Chamber, but I do not feel able to comment upon effect—what it will or will not be. However, I have a sense that his point of order was something of a warm-up, and I have a feeling that to this matter he, and doubtless others, will soon, possibly at greater length, return[Interruption.] Some mischievous soul says, “Hope not.” I think the hope is in vain.


That a Bill be brought in upon the foregoing Resolutions;

That the Chairman of Ways and Means, the Prime Minister, Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary Sajid Javid, Secretary Nicky Morgan, Secretary Greg Clark, Greg Hands, Damian Hinds, Harriet Baldwin and Mr David Gauke bring in the Bill.

Finance (No.2) Bill

Presentation and First Reading

Mr David Gauke accordingly presented a Bill to grant certain duties, to alter other duties, and to amend the law relating to the National Debt and the Public Revenue, and to make further provision in connection with finance.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 155) with explanatory notes (Bill 155-EN).