Banking Bill — Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 20th January 2009.

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Photo of Baroness Noakes Baroness Noakes Shadow Minister, Treasury 5:15 pm, 20th January 2009

In moving Amendment 119, I shall also speak to Amendment 120. For the convenience of the Committee, I have grouped Clause 74 stand part with these two amendments.

The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee pointed out that there is a Henry VIII power in Clause 74 (7). This power, because it involves taxation, involves parliamentary process in the other place only. The Bill provides in subsection (7) that it is subject only to the negative procedure. The Delegated Powers Committee was clear that if both Houses had been involved, it would have recommended the affirmative procedure, and it invited the Treasury to consider that point.

I have tabled the amendments to get the views of the Treasury and the Government on this; I do not seek to interfere in the privilege of the other place by tabling the amendments. The Minister will be aware that the Delegated Powers Committee reported long after the Bill had completed Report stage in another place, and this is the only formal opportunity for us to seek the Government's response.

I tabled the question on Clause 74 stand part to get a greater understanding of how the Government intend to use the powers in Clause 74. I hope that the Minister's speaking note will not simply fall back on his old friend "flexibility", because as usual the Explanatory Notes give no hint at all about how the powers might be used in practice. Of course, they are very extensive powers in relation to taxation, so it is reasonable to ask the Government to set out how they expect to use the powers, especially as the powers are not restricted to the transactions associated with the stabilisation power or the bank that is the object of the stabilisation power.

The Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008 contains no equivalent section. Have any issues arisen in practice from the exercise of powers under that Act? The Minister might like to say in what respects taxation has caused a problem in practice so as to lead the Government—in the case of Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley, or Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander—to seek the extensive powers set out in Clause 74. I beg to move.