European Union (Withdrawal) Bill [HL]

Explanatory Notes

Parliamentary approval for financial costs or for charges imposed

325 A money resolution agreed in the House of Commons is required where a Bill gives rise to, or creates powers that could be used so as to give rise to, new charges on the public revenue (broadly speaking, new public expenditure). A ways and means resolution agreed in the House of Commons is also required where a Bill creates or confers power to create new charges on the people (broadly speaking, new taxation or similar charges).

326 The House of Commons passed both a money resolution and a ways and means resolution for the Bill on 11 September 2017.

327 In terms of expenditure, the powers in clauses 7 to 9 and Schedule 2 all contain the power to do anything that an Act of Parliament can do and an Act can authorise any type of expenditure, charges on the Consolidated Fund or National Loans Fund or other charges on the public revenue. There may also be potential expenditure by ministers of the Crown, government departments or relevant devolved authorities for the purpose of, or in connection with, preparing for anything about which provision may be made under the delegated powers in the Bill (see clause 12). For example, regulations made under clause 7 could cause the Government to incur expenditure in taking on public functions currently exercised at the EU level or regulations made under clause 17 could authorise the transfer of funds from the UK Government to the EU (subject to parliamentary approval). In addition, clause 13 and Schedule 5 require the Queen’s Printer to publish certain treaties and EU instruments, which will involve expenditure out of money provided by Parliament.

328 On taxation or similar charges, the powers in clauses 7 and 9 and Parts 1 and 3 of Schedule 2 all contain prohibitions on the imposition or increase of taxation. But clause 8 and Part 2 of Schedule 2 (which enable provision to be made to ensure the UK continues to meet its international obligations) do not contain such a restriction and so could be used to impose or increase taxation, as they can be used to make any provision that can be made by an Act of Parliament. Clause 12(1) and Schedule 4 confer powers to charge fees or other charges that, in some cases, can go beyond cost recovery. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 8 allows any power to make, confirm or approve secondary legislation (including one that could impose or increase fees or charges) that exists before exit day to be used to modify retained direct EU legislation.


Prepared 18th January 2018