Select Committee on Economic Affairs Third Report


  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.[50]

  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

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003