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New Clause 19 — Power to remove or reduce burdens

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 15th May 2006.

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Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Labour, Luton North 7:15 pm, 15th May 2006

Precisely. Provisions on taxation are misplaced in the Bill. Taxation should be covered by Finance Bills, and as we have a Finance Bill each year, there is no problem with delay. It is not as if we can legislate on taxation only every five or 10 years.

A Bill on business is going through the other place. Such a generalised Bill would be a mechanism to make changes that would no doubt help business to run more smoothly. All sorts of general Bills come through the House regularly, so they could be used to make such changes.

It was suggested that the Government need such an approach on changing legislation because of the frustrations of the legislative process, but I understand that the problems have a lot to do with delays in Departments of State. The difficulties that civil servants have when bringing forward changes is much more of a delaying factor for Government legislation than the House. Short and punchy Bills that make small changes can go through the House quickly with little debate. Such simple Bills would be the appropriate way of dealing with problems that concern the House.

There are other ways to approach the problems. A number of detailed changes could be made. I much appreciated the speech by David Howarth. It was thoughtful and well made. I have a great deal of sympathy with what Mr. Cash said. I was surprised to hear that he voted for the Single European Act, which I would not have done at the time. Had he not voted for it, and had his party not voted for it, a lot of grief would have been saved. We would have had a much more loose-limbed European Union, causing much less difficulty for us all in all sorts of ways.

As I came into the debate late, I do not intend to speak for long. I hope that the Government amendments and what the other place does to the Bill will make it something that we can all support.