HL Deb 15 June 1981 vol 421 c430

2.47 p.m.

Lord Renton

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is now accepted by those responsible for the preparation of fiscal legislation that the scope of a charge or relief should be stated clearly in general terms at the beginning of the clause or group of clauses dealing with it, in accordance with recommendation (75) of the Committee on the Preparation of Legislation (Cmnd. 6053).

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone)

My Lords, I understand from those concerned that the answer to my noble friend's Question is in the negative.

Lord Renton

My Lords, while thanking my noble and learned friend for that unwelcome reply, may I ask this: Is he aware that the Royal Commission on Taxation and the Committee on the Preparation of Legislation did suggest what is proposed in this Question, in fact in the recommendation which the Question refers to, and that parts of this year's Finance Bill do most fortunately follow the recommendation? Will my noble and learned friend therefore please encourage those whose duty it is to draft our fiscal legislation to do what is proposed, namely, to state the scope of the charges and relief wherever it is feasible to do so?

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, that puts the question in a somewhat different light. Wherever it is feasible to do so I am quite sure they will do so.