HC Deb 29 June 1914 vol 64 cc175-8

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn.—"[Mr. Gulland.]


In view of the fact that we enter upon the Committee stage of the Finance Bill on Wednesday, I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can say anything as to the procedure which the Government intend to adopt with regard to that Bill and the Revenue Bill?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)

It will be convenient to Members if I give a short forecast of the procedure which it is proposed to adopt in reference to the Budget proposals. The Government propose to commence the Committee stage of the Finance Bill on Wednesday of this week, and they will proceed with Parts I., II., III., V., and VI. of the Bill. In order to allow a wide field for Amendments with respect to Income Tax and Death Duties—and also to put in order the provision as to the National Debt—the Government will move an Instruction on going into Committee that the Committee have power to make provision for the amendment of the law relating to Income Tax (including Super-tax), Death Duties, and the National Debt. As I have already suggested, the Government do not propose to take Part IV. of the Finance Bill (the part dealing with Grants for local purposes) as part of the main Finance Bill; but they think it will be more convenient for all concerned if the matter dealt with in the Clauses forming Part IV., with the dependent Schedules, is dealt with in the Revenue Bill. This procedure will obviate the necessity of dividing the Finance Bill into two parts. In order to give effect to this scheme, the Government will not propose the Resolution required for Part IV. until after the Committee stage of the Finance Bill is finished. The consequence will be that, as far as the Finance Bill is concerned, Part IV. and the dependent Schedules will automatically disappear, as, having no Resolution to authorise them, they cannot be put to the House.

There is one incidental point in connection with the Finance Bill, which I may now mention, and that is that I have promised the hon. and learned Member for St. Pancras that there will be an opportunity for discussing the question of married women and Income Tax. In order to discuss the question raised by the hon. and learned Member, it may be necessary to have a Money Resolution, as nothing can be done which does not involve some small shifting of the charge. The Government will move the necessary Resolution, and will probably themselves propose a Clause dealing with the matter.

So much for the Finance Bill. Before the Committee stage of the Revenue Bill is reached, the Government will propose certain Resolutions which are technically necessary, in order to give authority to certain proposals which are contained in the Bill, and will also propose the Resolution which is necessary before effect can be given by the House to the proposals with respect to Grants for local purposes, which are now contained in Part IV. of the Finance Bill. The passing of these Resolutions will enable the present proposals of the Revenue Bill and the proposals of the Government with respect to Grants for local purposes, which, as far as the Revenue Bill is concerned, are additional proposals, to be considered in Committee. As far as the latter proposals are concerned, that is to say, the proposals as to Grants for local purposes, it may possibly prove more convenient to the House if, instead of adding the Clauses dealing with those proposals to the Bill as new Clauses in the ordinary Committee stage, the Government give effect to those proposals by recommitting the Bill for the purpose. If this course were adopted, the ordinary proposals of the Revenue Bill would be taken in Committee and reported to the House, and the Government would then move that the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of adding Clauses which represent the matter which is now Part IV. of the Finance Bill, and the dependent Schedules. The adoption of this course would enable the discussion on the Grants for local purposes to be kept separate from the other proposals of the Revenue Bill; and probably Members on all sides of the House would be glad if these proposals, as far as the Committee stage is concerned, at any rate, were dealt with by themselves, and independently of the other proposals of the Revenue Bill.


The right hon. Gentleman has spoken several times in the course of his statement of the convenience of the House. Anybody who listened to his proposal will come to the conclusion that the Government have been considering their own convenience a great deal more than they have the convenience of the House. For the third time they have modified their proposals. Obviously it is not convenient to discuss the various new proposals which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has adumbrated. It really shows very little consideration for the convenience of the House. The first intimation which the Chancellor of the Exchequer caused to be given to my Noble Friend the chief Opposition Whip, of his intention to make a statement on this subject to-night, reached my Noble Friend only about two hours ago. It is surely not a convenient Parliamentary procedure that the Government should delay making up their mind, or if they had made up their mind, should delay making a statement of their intentions until 11 o'clock two nights before the Bill was to be taken, and that especially when the statement which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to make is not merely a statement of how he proposes to carry out the intentions which the Government last expressed to the House, but involves the statement that the Government have changed their views since the Second Reading of the Budget Bill, and that they now propose a new form of procedure which we have never heard of until now. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has muddled his own muddle, and even if he gives his whole attention to the subject between now and when we take up the Budget, I doubt if he could make a greater mess of it than he has already done. I only desire at this, the earliest moment, to enter a protest against the proposed procedure in regard to the new Revenue Bill which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced to-night. It will not be for the convenience of the House, whatever it may be for right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the Bill should be discussed in Committee in one form and be recommitted and then transformed into something else. In the circumstances in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has involved us, it would be much more for our convenience if he could have adhered, if not to the first edition of his Budget, at least to his second edition, and that he should have taken Part IV. of the Bill by itself as proposed, and if he were not willing to do that, then at least these Clauses ought to be moved and discussed as new Clauses in Committee in the ordinary and regular way.


May I ask if, when we get into Committee on the Finance Bill, the right hon. Gentleman proposes to suspend the Eleven o'Clock Rule; and may I also ask how many days he proposes for the Committee stage of the Finance Bill?

Adjourned at Twenty-four minutes after Eleven o'clock.

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