26 APRIL 2004


A Sub-Committee of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs will examine aspects of this year's Finance Bill. The Committee, chaired by Lord Peston, will examine the following aspects of the Finance Bill:

  • Disclosure of Tax and VAT Avoidance Schemes
    (Clauses 290-302, and Clause 19 with Schedule 2)
  • Pensions Schemes (Clauses 139-231 and Schedules 11-34)

  • Small Business Taxation: Distributions to Non-Corporates (Clause 28 and Schedule 3)

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (Clauses 282-289 and Schedules 37-39)

  • Duty Stamps for Spirits (Clause 4 and Schedule 1)

The Committee will focus on the administrative implications of these subjects, rather than on any changes in rates or incidence of tax. The Committee aims to report in early June, so its conclusions can be taken into account in the final stages of the Finance Bill's passage through Parliament.

The Chairman of the Committee, Lord Peston, said:

"My Committee will be looking very carefully at the Government's proposals to deal with Tax Avoidance (as distinct from Tax Evasion) and at the implications which these and other measures will have for businesses and for the bodies which advise them on the conduct of their financial affairs." 

"We will also be looking, as part of this inquiry, at how the projected merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise will impact on the implementation of these and other measures in the Finance Bill."


1. Matters relating to taxation and public expenditure are often considered by Lords Select Committees in the context of other inquiries. But a departure was made in 2003, when a sub-committee of the Select Committee on Economic Affairs was convened ad hoc to examine specific aspects of the Finance Bill, which is the legislation designed to give effect to the Budget.  The Sub-Committee's terms of reference were, however, limited to considering technical issues of tax administration, clarification or simplification and not the rates or incidence of taxes. The sub-committee will follow the same rules for its second Inquiry.

2. The members of the Finance Bill 2004 Sub-Committee are: Lord Peston (Chair), Lord Barnett, Lord Blackwell, Lord Freeman, Lord Moser, Lord Newby, Lord Paul, Lord Roll of Ipsden, Lord Sheppard of Didgemere, Lord Sheldon, Lord Shutt of Greetland and Lord Wakeham.

For further information contact:

Robert Preston, Clerk of the Sub-Committee 020 7219 5358