The scope for amendment

36.44The content, and therefore the scope for amendment, of a bill founded upon resolutions is defined by those resolutions. It is out of order to seek to introduce new material (even of a non-charging nature) which is not covered by the founding resolutions. In the case of the Finance Bill, the effect of this restriction has usually been limited by the inclusion among the founding resolutions of one providing for the general amendment of the fiscal law (see para 36.37 ). In the absence of such a general resolution, the scope for amendment may, depending on the way the founding resolutions are drafted, be limited severely. For example, the Finance (Income Tax Reliefs) Bill 1977 was a purely relieving measure, brought in on specific resolutions covering the reliefs specified in the Bill, and accordingly no amendments extending the reliefs were in order.1

The absence or presence of an ‘Amendment of the Law’ resolution does not affect the wider rules concerning amendments with a charging effect. It is out of order to seek to amend a bill founded upon Ways and Means resolutions so as to increase the rate or extend the incidence of a tax beyond that authorised in the relevant founding Ways and Means resolution. However, it is possible to amend a provision which reduces a tax rate or increases a relief to reduce the relieving effect, provided that the amendment does not involve an increase in the charge compared with the law as it stands prior to the proposed change.

The scope for amendment of a bill founded upon resolutions may, however, be extended by further resolutions agreed to by the House after the bill has been introduced. For the purpose of linking such a resolution with the bill to which it relates, the House on agreeing to the resolution orders an instruction to the committee on the bill enabling it to amend the bill accordingly; this may be done after the committee has begun consideration of the bill.2 On the other hand, if such a resolution is agreed to after the bill has been reported from a committee, no instruction is required because the House does not need to instruct itself.3


  1. 1. CJ (1977–78) 22–23.
  2. 2. For example, CJ (1993–94) 245. See also ibid (1894) 204, 236; Parl Deb (1894) 24, c 1201.
  3. 3. For example, CJ (1992–93) 742.