Clause 36 — Continuity

Employment Opportunities – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 10th February 2009.

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Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

With this it will be convenient to deal with Lords amendments 51 to 53 and 95.

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Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Economic and Business), Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Economic Secretary (Economic and Business), HM Treasury

Lords amendment 20 removed from clause 36 a subsection that made provision for tax. The clause deals with the maintenance of continuity when a transfer is made under the powers in part 1. The subsection was not needed in the light of the detailed powers on tax in clause 74, and I am grateful to the Opposition spokesman in the other place for drawing that to our attention and tabling the necessary amendment.

Lords amendments 51 to 53 and 95 respond to comments made by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, widely supported in the other place, about the parliamentary scrutiny of secondary legislation. The amendments switch the order-making power in clause 74 to the affirmative procedure; again, we have had many debates about whether matters should come under the negative or affirmative procedures. We are happy to support the amendments and the view of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in that respect.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban Shadow Minister (Treasury)

We welcome the fact that amendment 20 was accepted in the House of Lords and we are happy that it forms part of the amended Bill. However, will the Minister help me out on one issue? When the amendment was debated in the other place, the point was made that there were provisions under clause 74 that would allow the Treasury to make regulations about the fiscal consequences of the exercise of the stabilisation power. When a normal transaction takes place, there are fairly well established precedents about how tax should be dealt with; corporation tax, for example, is apportioned between the former owner of a company and its new owner, based on when the completion date was. There are mechanisms for calculating what the tax bill would be. Will the Minister explain a little more about what he thinks the fiscal consequences of the exercise of the stabilisation power will be and where the Government are on making regulations on that? That would be helpful.

On Lords amendments 51 to 53 and 95, one of the themes running through our consideration of the Bill is that there should be proper parliamentary scrutiny of the secondary legislation, so we welcome the Government's moves to accept more situations in which regulations should be dealt with through the affirmative procedure rather than the negative procedure.

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Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Economic and Business), Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Economic Secretary (Economic and Business), HM Treasury

I welcome the hon. Gentleman's support for the amendments, particularly in respect of the decision to move to the affirmative procedure for scrutinising some of the secondary legislation.

On the fiscal position, the Government will assess the range of likely tax consequences that follow from the exercise of the stabilisation powers, and we will bring forward any necessary tax provisions in due course. Explanatory material accompanying any tax provisions will set out further details about the basis on which the changes are to be made. I have nothing further to add to that at this point.

Lords amendment 20 agreed to , with Commons privilege waived.

Lords amendments 21 to 48 agreed to.

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