General rules of financial procedure of the Commons

33.7The general rules which (subject to the exceptions described in the following pages) govern the financial procedure of the House of Commons can be stated under three principal heads.

Rule 1: Legislative authorisation and appropriation of charges.

A charge, whether upon public funds or upon the people, has to be authorised by legislation; and it must originate in the House of Commons (except to the extent that the Commons waive their privilege,1 or when a bill is brought from the Lords pursuant to Standing Order No 50(2)).

Rule 2: Preliminary consideration of resolutions.

A charge of either kind must first be considered in the form of a resolution (a ‘charging’ or ‘founding’ resolution), which, when agreed to by the House, forms a necessary preliminary to the bill or clause by which the charge is authorised.

Rule 3: The financial initiative of the Crown.

A charge of either kind cannot be taken into consideration unless it is sought by the Crown or recommended from the Crown.

These three rules are described in more detail below.2


  1. 1. See para 37.21.
  2. 2. Formerly, a fourth such rule was recognised, according to which not more than one stage of a bill founded upon a charging resolution (more specifically a Ways and Means resolution) could be taken on the same day. The process by which the scope and importance of this rule have in recent years been diminished is described at para 33.23. The first and second rules were also formerly subject to restrictions arising from sessionality, a matter described at para 33.16.