We’re on a late one tonight… not sure how long it’s going to run, but have decided to devote the next hour or two to tackling emails, and then might head into the Chamber to see how it’s shaping up. I was thinking of speaking in the debate, but we have three more days of Finance Bill debates next week, and more the week after, so I think I’ll have plenty of opportunity. (Stephen Williams, former tax inspector I believe, has just made an intervention on a techy point about VAT).
Today is the Second Reading so MPs can make very broad-ranging speeches, so long as it’s roughly in the same ballpark. Next week will be Committee stage so it’s more about individual measures, including the cut in corporation tax, the rise in capital gains tax and of course the rise in VAT which I suspect will occupy the honourable members for quite some time. And then when it gets to Third Reading we can only talk about what’s actually in the Bill, not what should be in it.
Your sympathies should be with the poor folk who have drawn the adjournment debate for tonight and for the close of evening debates next week. They might find they’re delivering them at four in the morning and will have to be on standby all night. As will the civil servants who have to sit in the box during the debate, ready to advise the Minister if a difficult point is made.