HC Deb 12 March 1980 vol 980 c1341

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

Before we start the debates on the Consolidated Fund (No. 2) Bill, I wish to give the House a little advice as to the scope of the various debates. The Bill is a relatively narrow one. The rules regarding debates on Supplementary Estimates, and consequently on Bills founded on such estimates, are set out in "Erskine May", as follows: If the sum demanded by a supplementary estimate is of the same order of magnitude as the original estimate, the chair has allowed questions of policy to be raised upon it which would have been in order if it had been an original estimate; but if the supplementary estimate is merely to provide additional funds of a relatively moderate amount required in the normal course of working of the services for which the original vote was demanded, only the reasons for the increase can be discussed and not the policy implied in the service which must be taken to have been settled by the original vote". Topics 1, 2, 8, 13 and 14 on the list of subjects are based on Estimates to provide additional funds of a relatively moderate amount. Thus, only the reasons for the increase should be discussed.

With regard to topics 3 and 4, the Supplementary Estimate is of a similar order of magnitude to the original Estimate, and matters of policy can be raised—that is, on the questions of the sale of shares in BP and on finance for the NEB. They are the only two topics on which policy questions can, in order, be raised.