Lords amendments to Bills of Aids and Supplies
37.16So completely do the Lords accept the restriction resulting from the Commons' privileges upon their power to amend Bills of Aids and Supplies, that the committee stage of such bills is now invariably negatived. The last debate on a Consolidated Fund Bill was in 1907; since then proceedings have been purely formal.1 The Lords have in the past preferred to accept a provision for the resumption of Irish grants, tacked to a Supply bill of 1700, rather than cut out the provision, and to reject the Finance Bill of 1909 rather than amend it by the excision of the provisions to which they objected.
Since the start of the sessional series of Consolidated Fund or Supply and Appropriation Bills (1787)2 and Finance Bills (1861),3 these two kinds of bill have in practice comprised the vast majority of instances of Bills of Aids and Supplies. Other Bills of Aids and Supplies in recent times are referred to at para 36.43. They are founded on Ways and Means resolutions and incorporate a special enacting formula used with variant forms since the seventeenth century for Bills of Aids and Supplies. One such bill, having a modified version of the traditional enacting formula, was the Safeguarding of Industries Bill 1921. The Commons disagreed to Lords amendments to the bill, giving a single reason, namely ‘because they infringe the sole and undoubted rights of the Commons to impose taxation’. But it was not claimed that the bill could not be amended at all without a breach of privilege, nor did the reason given include an assertion that the action taken by the Lords was unconstitutional.4
No Bill of Aids and Supplies has been amended since then, and none has been considered in committee since 1968.5 The Companion to the Standing Orders of the House of Lords says, ‘In order to save the time of the House, supply bills and money bills are not usually committed. This is the invariable practice in the case of supply bills...’6
Subject to the general rules of financial privilege, a Lords bill or a Lords amendment to a Commons bill may amend an Act arising from a Bill of Aids and Supplies.7
- 1. See First Report from the Select Committee on Procedure (Supply), HC 118-III (1980–81), pp 20–21. See also para 34.40.
- 2. The latter title has been used since 2011.
- 3. The first Finance Bill presented under that title was in 1894. Between 1861 and 1894 the bills were known as Customs and Inland Revenue Bills. See also Parl Deb (1894) 24, cc 1203–18.
- 4. CJ (1921) 364; HC Deb (1921) 146, c 1695. See also Report on Tax Bills, HC 414 (1860); 3 Hatsell 141 n.
- 5. Erskine Bridge Tolls Bill and Revenue (No. 2) Bill 1967–68.
- 6. Companion to the Standing Orders of the House of Lords (2017 edn), para 8.48.
- 7. For instance, the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 amended three Finance Acts.