We now know that the 600 or so pages of finance bill measures withdrawn in April to make way for the general election will be reintroduced, with some technical amendments, “as soon as possible after the summer recess”. There will be very little time for debate in the shadow of the Brexit negotiations, but concerns continue to be expressed about the some of the measures.
It’s interesting to look back to mid-April, just before Theresa May called the election, when Andrew Tyrie, then chairman of the Treasury Committee, said he would continue to press the government to allow for MPs examining finance bills to consult tax experts before beginning detailed scrutiny of the legislation.
Jane Ellison, then financial secretary to the Treasury, told Tyrie that she was “not persuaded at present by the merits of delaying the [finance bill] programming to allow for oral evidence sessions”. She added that that government was always looking to make further improvements to the tax policymaking process.
Ellison, who lost her seat in the election, is now a special adviser to the chancellor, Philip Hammond. And Mel Stride is the new financial secretary.
I wonder whether they will come to accept Tyrie’s views on the scrutiny of tax proposals, and what the new Treasury Committee chairman Nicky Morgan will make of them:
“It is important that the Finance Bill Committee, as well as the Treasury Committee, has the opportunity to hear directly from tax experts before they scrutinise the Finance Bill.
“Tax experts and parliamentarians need to have the best possible tools for the task of scrutinising tax policy proposals, with good quality impact assessments and a user-friendly record of the status of each proposal on its journey through the forest of consultation and legislation.”