HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc460-1

I turn now to the regulator. I propose to extend for a further year the power enabling the Treasury to operate the Customs regulator, that is to say, the power to raise or lower certain indirect taxes. When the regulator was originally introduced in 1961, there was general agreement on both sides of the Committee that there should be adequate Parliamentary control over its use; and that was provided by the exceptional measure of making all regulator Orders subject to affirmative Resolution, not within the usual 28 sitting days, but within 21 calendar days. That means of course, in practice, that a regulator Order could not be made during most of the Summer Recess unless the House were recalled, and to that extent it reduces its flexibility.

This seems a necessary provision when any question of increasing taxation is involved, but the arguments are much less compelling in relation to a possible reduction. I propose, therefore, to seek the agreement of the House in the Finance Bill for making reductions, and only reductions, subject to affirmative Resolution within 21 sitting days—increases remaining subject to affirmative Resolution within 21 calendar days.

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