HC Deb 26 January 1999 vol 324 c148
Mr. Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I seek your guidance on todays debate on the working families tax credit and the Tax Credits Bill. The debate should be adjourned almost immediately for the following reasons. First, notwithstanding Government assurances, there is no reference in the Bill to the child care tax credit which forms a critical and crucial part of the measure. What is most intriguing is that at the time of the 1998 Budget, the Chancellor said: We will introduce a new child care tax credit as part of the working families tax credit.—[Official Report, 17 March 1998; Vol.308, c. 1106.] The Paymaster General, who will advance the course of the Bill, said on the Today programme this morning: The really important element for women is the presence of the child care tax credits. However, there is no reference to child care tax credits in the Bill. The public are, therefore, being misled. Unless child care tax credits are included in the Bill, the cornerstone of the measure cannot stand and there is no purpose in debating it until it is included. The Government have made no attempt to explain why the child care credits have not been included.

Secondly, the Government also promised an impact assessment. Page 18 of the explanatory notes states: A regulatory impact assessment will be published … in time for the detailed debates on the primary legislation. No such statement has been published and that makes the debate of the Bill a pointless exercise. A statement about the huge costs that businesses are likely to incur has not been published so that businesses can take a view on the matter.

The third reason is a supporting point. The Bill has been framed with massive Henry VIII clauses, of which clause 10 is a classic example. Little in the Bill is provided in the detail necessary for the public, through Members of Parliament, to scrutinise the measure and decide whether it is a serious proposal, or merely a Government exercise in dogma.

Madam Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me some notice of his point of order. The circumstances of a Bills introduction and its contents are exactly what a Second Reading debate is all about. The hon. Gentleman should seek answers to his questions in the debate that will follow. In fact, he must argue his case for the Bills rejection through debate.

Furthermore, it might assist him if I tell the hon. Gentleman and the House that I have selected the reasoned amendment in the name of the Leader of the Opposition. In doing that, the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues will be able to vote for that amendment and against the Governments Bill, to try to reject it. He must raise his points through debate with the Ministers who will be handling the Bill.