HL Deb 18 January 1979 vol 397 c1169

3.36 p.m.

The LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord Elwyn-Jones)

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. This is the first of seven Bills together consolidating most of the law of customs and excise, all of which are for Second Reading this afternoon. It may be convenient if, with the leave of the House. I speak briefly now to all seven Bills before the others are put in turn to your Lordships, and moved formally.

The Customs and Excise Management Bill, which is the largest of these Bills, deals with the administration, management and overall control of customs and excise while the Customs and Excise Duties (General Reliefs) Bill consolidates certain general reliefs from customs and excise duties. There are four Bills dealing specifically with the individual excise duties on alcoholic liquors; oil, petrol and similar fuels; tobacco products, and matches and lighters. Finally, one Bill consolidates the so-called "regulator" powers by which the Chancellor of the Exchequer may by order vary the rate of certain excise duties.

All but one of the Bills are pure consolidation Bills, the exception being the Management Bill which contains four minor changes in drafting recommended by the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission in their report on the consolidation. None of these recommendations relates to the charge of duty, nor would they make any change in current practice. My Lords, if these Bills receive a Second Reading today they will all be referred in the ordinary way to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.