Musicians Union, Orchestras and Henry the Eighth
A limited amount of debate has been going on about the new "Ministers change law by edict" bill going through the House next week. David Howarth has put down some really good amendments on this which go to the nub of the bill.
It remains that the government are putting down a bill that makes it easier for Ministers to change the law without a full parliamentary procedure. Almost anything could be rammed through with the agreement of two committees and one vote in each house.
The argument is to make deregulation easier. The real problem is that Civil Servants generally don't want to reduce the amount of regulation as this reduces their ability to influence what happens. All proposals for deregulation have to come from the Civil Service (Ministers, but we know how little they have to do with this).
The bill has been called the Henry VIII bill becuase it is about greater power for the crown prerogative (ie government).
In the mean time the Musician's Union have a problem with class 2 NI contributions being required from orchestras. This is a good example where noone really wants this regulation. Musicians tend to work as music teachers when not working in Orchestras so there is no long period of unemployment. This is different to the matters in the Acting world for which this was designed.
Being as I am on Standing Committee A which is dealing with the Finance Bill I asked whether this law could be amended. Answer: National Insurance is nothing to do with Finance. Hence it would be out of order.
I do think, however, that this would work as a regulatory reform order so I will rummage that out and see what happens.
I am now also on the Procedure Committee which gives me three Committees: Regulatory Reform, Procedure and Standing Committee A. Actually I am quite pleased to be on the Procedure Committee as I am working on how to force the government to "answer the question". I have done a lot more work on this in the last week. I could probably write a reasonably good book on this now, but I am concentrating on the legal arguments that force government ministers to answer questions properly.
Being on the Procedure Committee means that I see the details of how parliamentary proceedings are managed. Interestingly Questions are part of parliamentary proceedings, but Answers are not.