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Contemporary context

An important development in how Parliament scrutinises the Executive (or Government) was the creation of Departmental Select Committees in the House of Commons in 1979, following the recommendations of a Procedure Select Committee, set up in 1976, which reported in 1978.

It recommended the appointment of a series of select committees mirroring all the main departments of state, with wide terms of reference and members chosen independently by the House of Commons Select Committee of Selection.

One influential committee is the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, which examines the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, HM Revenue & Customs, and associated public bodies, including the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority. Together with the House of Commons and House of Lords, which scrutinises the annual Budget statement (or Finance Bill), Parliament continues to play a full role in holding to account the Government's proposals for taxation.

Page last updated September 2016.