Summer Finance Bill 2015: likely progress through Parliament

Written on 8 Jul 2015

The Government has indicated that the new rules regarding the use of EIS and VCT funds will be introduced in the Summer Finance Bill 2015, “with effect from Royal Assent”.

The Bill will be published on Wednesday 15th July but no further detail has been provided regarding its passage through Parliament. However, we can make some assumptions based on previous Finance Bills.

The most appropriate parallel appears to be the 2010 post-election Finance Bill. The Budget was on 22nd June 2010, the Bill was laid before the Commons on 28th June, debated by MPs for the first time on 6th July, and then progressed through the various parliamentary stages to receive Royal Assent on 27th July (the day parliament rose for the summer recess). The whole process took just over a month. (http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-12/finance/stages.html)

Based on that pattern, and taking into account that Parliament will rise for the summer recess on Tuesday 21st July, in just under two weeks’ time, it is unlikely that the Bill will receive Royal Assent before September, and possibly not before mid-October.

My assumption is that following the publication of the Finance Bill next Wednesday, MPs will be given an opportunity to debate the Bill in general terms (second reading), but any more than that before Parliament rises is unlikely.

The Commons will return briefly on 7th September for ten days. This is when I would expect the majority of the Committee days to take place, and potentially the final stages in the Commons. This is the stage when amendments could be made and pressure regarding specific provisions brought to bear by MPs.

The Bill will then go to the House of Lords for consideration. As they have no power to amend the Bill, much less time will be required for debate; I would estimate that five days will be needed between first reading and third reading, with Royal Assent following either on the same day as the third reading or within days.

However, given that there is another recess spanning 17th September to 12th October, my estimate is that these Lords stages and Royal Assent will fall in October. 

All this is only educated guess work, and it has to be remembered that the Government has the power to speed up the legislative process (within the bounds of democratic decency), but I’d pencil Royal Assent in for the w/c 12th October or 19th October

This blog post was written by Nikki da Costa. She is a public affairs expert, and former Special Adviser to the Conservative Chief Whip 2007-2008. She provides consultancy, training and mentoring in public affairs.

Some announcements in the Budget became immediately effective yesterday, while others need to be passed in the Summer Finance Bill 2015 (the subject of this article). You should consult with your OC lawyer as to which elements come into force when.