Summer Finance Bill 2015: likely progress through Parliament

Written on 23 Jul 2015

The new rules regarding the use of EIS and VCT funds were introduced in the Summer Finance Bill 2015, and will have “effect from Royal Assent”.

In a previous blog I predicted – using the 2010 post-election Finance Bill as a model – that the Summer Finance Bill was unlikely to receive Royal Assent before September and possibly not before mid-October.

Recent developments confirm that it will be at least October before the Bill becomes law. I’d now pencil in the w/c 26th October and possibly the w/c 2nd November for Royal Assent.

The Bill was published on Tuesday 14th July, a day ahead of schedule, and the second reading (the first opportunity MPs have to debate the Bill) took place on Tuesday 21st July, just before Parliament rose for the long summer recess.

A programme motion was also passed on the same day. A programme order helps to make a Bill’s progress through its various stages in the Commons much more predictable. It also limits the time for debate – an added advantage for any government.

We now know that:

  • There will be a Committee of the whole House lasting one day on 8th September. The Committee will consider Clauses 16 (bank levy rates), 17 (banking companies: surcharge), 43 (insurance premium tax) and 45 (CCL – removal of exemption for electricity from renewable sources). Schedules 2 and 3 relating to bank levy rates and banking companies surcharge will also be debated.
  • The remainder of the Bill will be committed to a Public Bill Committee, and they must complete their deliberations by 20th October 2015.

Once the Committee is done, the remaining Commons stages will be completed over the course of one day, before the Bill is sent 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.

Consequently, my updated estimate is that Royal Assent will take place in the final week of October, and more likely in the first week in November.

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.

Note from OC editor Clara Snow:

Some announcements in the Budget became immediately effective on the date of announcement, 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 are already in force and which are pending.