(Except clauses 5 and 6, 7 to 9, 10 to 15, schedule 1, clauses 18 to 25, 27, 47, 48, 50 to 60, schedules 7 to 9, clauses 121 to 264, schedules 14 to 17, clauses 265 to 277, schedule 18, clauses 278 to 312 and any new clauses or new schedules relating to the subject matter of those clauses and schedules.)

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 16 May 2023.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 9:25, 16 May 2023

May I say what a pleasure it is to serve under your chairmanship, Ms McVey? I am delighted if this is the first Finance Bill over which you are presiding. I should declare that I used to prosecute tax fraudsters for His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, but I have not done so since being elected to this place. I ought also, while we are in housekeeping mode, welcome all Committee members to this scrutiny. It is an important part of our legislation-making process. Particular thanks go to my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes who—I hope he will not mind my sharing—got married at the weekend and so is perhaps the first parliamentarian to spend his honeymoon in a Finance Bill Committee. My sincere apologies to Mrs Mangnall.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Aberdeen North and to the hon. Member for Wallasey from the Treasury Committee. I thank that Committee for its scrutiny, not just of the Finance Bill but of everything that the Treasury does. Ministers and Departments take it very seriously, and I imagine we will be enjoying the company of the Committee in due course on this and other matters.

The hon. Member for Aberdeen North raised a point about oral evidence. There is a fuller picture than the one she portrayed. We have the extensive scrutiny of the Committee of the whole House, which, as she will know, is not usual for most Bills going through this place, where scrutiny tends to happen in Committee Rooms, and we also have an extensive programme of pre-legislative consultation with tax experts and members of the public—the taxpayers—where required. That pre-legislative scrutiny includes publishing clauses in draft before the Bill is introduced to Parliament. The Government published more than 250 pages of legislation before the Bill was introduced.

One of the reasons why the procedure on the Finance Bill is so long standing is precisely because we have scrutiny into two parts—the Committee of the whole House, and line-by-line scrutiny in Public Bill Committee. We all recognise that often the most contentious issues are raised on the Floor of the House. Any oral evidence sessions in Public Bill Committee would be able to consider only those parts of the Bill not selected for consideration by the Committee of the whole House.

We encourage those who have an interest in these matters to write to the Public Bill Committee with their views, which are of course taken into account. I emphasise the huge programme of work that goes into creating the draft clauses before the Bill is even introduced, particularly the public consultation points. That is a real opportunity for the organisation the hon. Member for Aberdeen North mentioned, but also for taxpayers who are perhaps not a member of an institution or an organisation, to put their views forward. I hope that that answers the concerns that colleagues have rightly raised.