Finance Bill – Regulations just ‘tip of iceberg’

Protests from the English ICA and other professional bodies over the extended use of regulations in this year’s finance bill have been brushed aside by the government.

Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson said: ‘The longer the list of organisations grew, the more convinced I became that it was possible the institute was wrong.’ He said past governments had not followed the practice of publishing draft regulations as Labour has done.

Replying to bitter Tory protests over delays making texts available to MPs, Robinson said these were ‘just the tip of the iceberg.’ He said wide consultation on corporation tax proposals, the abolition of ACT, ISAs and the control of foreign companies had resulted in better legislation and better government.

He claimed the Tories’ 1993 finance act contained 30 regulation-making provisions, 57 in 1994/1995, 72 in 1995/1996 and 95 in 1996/1997. He said Tory MPs tried to pretend there had been a sea change on the government’s approach when it was ‘silly’ to imagine there had.

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