CHAPTER 7: LOOKING AHEAD
7.1 We believe this has been a worthwhile
exercise, albeit conducted under great pressure in the exceptionally
short timescale imposed by the Parliamentary timetable of this
year's Finance Bill. We hope that we have made a constructive
and helpful contribution to the overall task of Parliamentary
consideration of the Bill.
7.2 Our aim
has been to work not only within the spirit of the Reports of
the Leader's Working Practices Group and the Procedure Committee
which recommended the setting up of this Sub-Committee, but also
in the best traditions of this House for objectivity, balance,
diligence and well-informed judgment.
7.3 Based on
our experience this year, we are confident that a similar exercise
could be repeated with advantage next year. This would be consistent
with the general recommendation of the Leader's Working Practices
Group for a two-year trial period for all the changes it recommended.
We hope that the timetable for next year's Finance Bill will be
rather less constricted than this year. If it is, we have no doubt
that the Sub-Committee could make an even more valuable contribution
to Parliamentary consideration of the Bill.
7.4 The wide and warm welcome and the very
ready response given to the work of this Sub-Committee make us
equally confident that the Sub-Committee could count on the same
degree of vital support and assistance from both Government officials
and the private sector.
7.5 It has also
become clear during our work that the Sub-Committee could usefully
make a much earlier start in the next Parliamentary Session by
reviewing the progress made since this Report on any aspects of
the present Bill where consultation was continuing, as well as
by beginning to look at the pre-legislative consultation preceding
next year's Bill as it gets under way.
7.6 We also consider
that the terms of reference of this Sub-Committee were unduly
restrictive, especially since no issue of Commons financial privilege
was involved in our work. The advice we have had from the Clerks
confirms our view that the Sub-Committee should be able to examine
and report on all aspects of the Finance Bill in the same constructive
and helpful sprit without encroaching on Commons financial privileges.
7.7 We therefore
recommend that, subject to the views of the Liaison Committee,
the Sub-Committee should be set up as soon as convenient in the
new Parliamentary session to review the outcome, as it emerges,
of the ongoing consultations on the present Finance Bill and the
pre-legislative consultation leading to next year's Finance Bill,
as well as considering the Bill itself once published.
7.8 We further
recommend that the terms of reference of the Sub-Committee be
broadened so as increase the scope of potential inquiry open to
it because no issue of financial privilege arises.
50 See para 3.1 and footnote 4. Back