Delegation of taxing powers

36.10Provisions delegating the House's powers to determine the rates and incidence of taxation have been incorporated in bills founded upon Ways and Means resolutions.1 On the introduction of purchase tax in 1940, the founding Ways and Means resolution specifically empowered the Treasury to make orders varying the rates of the tax and the categories of goods on which it was chargeable, but provided at the same time for any such orders to be subject to approval by the House.2 These arrangements are still incorporated in the legislation relating to value added tax, the successor to purchase tax.3


  1. See in particular Abnormal Importations (Customs Duties) Bill 1931, CJ (1931–32) 28, and the Speaker's ruling on that occasion, HC Deb (1931–32) 259, c 719 ff. See also HC Deb (1919) 122, c 213. In 1917 a government amendment to the Finance Bill proposing such a delegation had been ruled out of order, HC Deb (1917–18) 95, c 828.
  2. CJ (1939–40) 217.
  3. Value Added Tax Act 1994, ss 2(2), 5 and 97. For the Ways and Means resolution on which value added tax was originally founded, which was entirely general in terms, see CJ (1971–72) 232.