Government announces two-tiered budget bill

The Government has announced a surprise two-state approach to finance
legislation approving the measures set out by Chancellor David Osborne in his
Emergency Budget statement and those remaining from former Chancellor Alistair
Darling’s package before the general election.

The Treasury has published an initial Finance Bill enacting key tax measures
at the heart of Mr Osborne’s package “to cut the unprecedented deficit, deliver
fairness and promote enterprise” which it is intended to push through Parliament
as quickly as possible this summer.

It will be followed by a further bill in the autumn which “will introduce
minor, technical measures announced by the previous government”.

It will be published in draft later this month [July] “to allow thorough
pre-legislative scrutiny”.

Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said: “The government’s inheritance was one
of debt and unsustainable spending. We are taking the decisive action needed to
pay for the past and plan for the future. That is why today we are legislating
the key measures at the heart of our comprehensive five-year plan to put the
British economy back on track.”

He made no comment on whether this year’s arrangements are a one-off or will
set a precedent for the future, with an annual “budget bill” which has to be
passed reasonably swiftly to enact major tax changes, followed by a more
detailed technical bill when necessary in draft, with consultations before
Parliamentary approval is sought.

It is a reform many have argued for to remove the pressure to rush through
technical changes which require more consideration.

The emergency measure was published earlier today [Thursday] together with
detailed “Lobby Notes” on clauses and schedules which are available on the
Treasury website together with more detailed notes.

Meanwhile a handful of rebel Liberal Democrat MPs have been gearing up to
table amendments to the Finance Bill in a bid to improve “fairness” next week
after the main debate approving the budget legislation in principle on Tuesday
[7 July].

Party whips are fearful a small number of vociferous dissidents unhappy with
the coalition will seek to use detailed line-by-line debates in the Commons
itself, due to start on 12 July, and later in committee, if any of them secure
places on it, to push for “improvements” largely in the area of helping poorer

They will also have an opportunity to act, possibly in concert with Labour,
when the bill reaches report stage.

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