Commons debates Finance Bill into the night

May 13, 2009 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

MPs were still at Westminster at 1:30 this morning as the final stages of the Finance Bill was debated in the Commons.

It is unusual for the House to sit past 10pm, but a series of amendments were discussed and voted on.

The Speaker cannot set time limits for debate on money bills, so the sitting went on into the small hours of the night.

The effect of taxation on the Scotch whisky industry and the impact of the temporary reduction of VAT were among the issues debated.

Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, announced what one MP described as a “modest” proposal to help businesses revert back to the 17.5% rate at the end of this year.

“I was surprised that an amendment had not been tabled about the difficulty for the many businesses that will remain open beyond midnight on 31 December in coping with two different VAT rates in a single trading day,” he said.

“Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will allow a few hours’ grace for businesses such as pubs and clubs, which will serve customers over midnight on 31 December, to enable them to charge the same 15 per cent. for a session that goes beyond midnight into the early hours of 1 January.

“HMRC will work with businesses on the details, but I think that that will address the concern.”

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