Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:29 pm on 5th April 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Noakes Baroness Noakes Spokespersons In the Lords, Work & Pensions and Welfare Reform 7:29 pm, 5th April 2005

My Lords, I would like to add to what my noble friend said. From these Benches, we have been very appreciative of the way in which the noble and learned Lord responded to the concerns that were expressed in the earlier stages of the Bill which resulted in amendments being passed at Report, the speedy way that he dealt with the issues after that and the constructive way in which he and his officials developed a solution that was satisfactory to all parties. It is a model that I hope will be repeated in the next Parliament when we come to such difficult issues.

I should emphasise that we were never trying to stop Customs officials on the borders dealing with terrorism and other immediate threats of illegality. Our concern was about taxpayer information sitting in offices up and down the land. These clauses have highlighted the difficulty in putting together the two different kinds of organisation that Customs and the Inland Revenue represent. One deals with a rather static information and the other deals with real-life situations. The amendments focus our minds on how to accommodate both situations. The result is an improvement to the Bill.