HC Deb 15 April 1929 vol 227 cc65-6

I will now explain an important departure in procedure upon which we have resolved. It arises naturally and inevitably from the circumstances in which we stand. Everyone wishes to proceed as soon as possible to the General Election, and all parties are making arrangements on that basis. The limits of Parliamentary time are therefore fixed with much rigidity. We have only a very few days. On the other hand, I must present the Budget scheme for the finances of the year in its integrity. That cannot be done in any Finance Bill which can receive the Royal Assent before the General Election. We therefore propose this year to have two Finance Bills. The first will contain only the necessary provisions to express the Government policy and carry on the public services. All the complicated consequential Clauses will be left to the new Parliament. The Opposition, if successful in the battle, will have the pleasure of passing or repudiating all the machinery Clauses, and will have plenty of time to do so. The first Finance Bill will therefore contain only those—

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

You are running away from it.


On the contrary. It will contain only those Clauses necessary to the protection of the revenue, namely, the continuance of the Income Tax and its very small companion, the duty on hops; the repeal of the Tea Duty and of the Betting Duty on turnover, and the repeal of the Railway Passenger Duty. Concurrently with this first Finance Bill, a White Paper will be laid setting forth the draft Clauses left to be dealt with in the new Parliament. They are not of an exciting character at all, but may easily take a long time. It follows from this procedure that we do not intend this Session to move the general Resolution for the Amendment of the Law. It will, therefore, not be open to hon. Members to move a long series of new Clauses setting forth electioneering lures and wiles until after the election has taken place. It will not be possible, for instance, to bring forward new Clauses of a vote catching character for greatly improving the universe and then forcing the supporters of any responsible Government to vote against them. On the other hand, the Government will facilitate by every means in their power the fullest possible general discussion upon the Budget proposals as a whole, and it may be that the repeal of the Tea Duty, if the permission of the Chair can be obtained, will afford a convenient vehicle for such a Debate. This will conduce to the efficient despatch of public business and the convenience of the House.