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Summary

  1. We joined the Commons after the final PMQs for this Parliament.
  2. At 12.30 GMT, MP Barry Sheerman presented a bill on Protection of Children (Removal of Police Discretion); followed by a ten minute rule bill on Tax Transparency and International Development.
  3. After that, MPs passed the Finance (No.2) Bill; followed by a motion to ban two terrorist organisations.
  4. Peers met at 15.00 GMT for a busy day which started with oral questions.
  5. Following that, they briefly considered private members' bills at third reading, and are now considering Commons amendments to the Modern Slavery Bill.
  6. Peers spent much of the day debating the Budget, before finally debating the Public Contract Regulations 2015.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hunt withdraws the motion, which has served its purpose of allowing debate on the regulations, and a long day in the Lords comes to a close.

Peers return tomorrow from 11:00 GMT for their final day before Parliament is dissolved for the general election campaign.

Business will include a debate on the use of immigration detention in the UK.

The House of Commons will meet for its final day from 09:30 GMT, starting with questions to business, innovation and skills ministers.

'£4bn of benefits'

The

Public Contracts Regulations 2015 implement the new Public Sector Procurement Directive, which provides modernised rules for procurement by public authorities above certain thresholds.

Health Minister Earl Howe says the changes "should lead to over £4 billion of benefits each and every year to the economy".

He tells the House that the regulations do not apply to clinical services commissioned by NHS England or commissioning groups "yet".

When they do apply from April 2016, the regulations will not force them "to tender NHS services automatically", he claims.

Earl Howe
BBC

Why the 'rush'?

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bishop of Peterborough says he doesn't understand the "rush" to implement the EU procurement directive with these regulations.

"Scotland has entered a lengthy and considered stakeholder consultation," he says, as have other EU member states.

'Pointless tenders'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hunt says the government has not exempted the NHS in England "from running pointless tenders".

"These missed opportunities reflect the government's political imperative to turn the NHS into a market to pave the way for private sector operators to deliver more NHS services," he argues.

He claims the measures deny NHS clinical commissioning groups the "flexibility to decide when tendering is the right approach for patients".

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
BBC

Public Contract Regulations 2015

House of Lords

Parliament

The final debate tonight concerns the Public Contract Regulations 2015, which were laid before the House on 5 February.

Labour health spokesman Lord Hunt of Kings Heath has tabled a "motion to regret" which criticises the regulations.

The motion claims the regulations "are being implemented with unseemly haste [and] will cause confusion as to which procurement regime is to be used for integrated health and care contracts".

It also claims the regulations "do not implement the assurances given by ministers to Parliament during the passage of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 that NHS commissioners would be free to commission services in the way they consider in the best interests of NHS patients".

Motion approved

House of Lords

Parliament

The Budget debate ends and peers accept a motion to approve the government's economic assessments for the purposes of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993.

Under section 5 of the act, the UK must report its economic outlook to the EU.

The act requires the government to offer a comprehensive annual assessment of the UK's economic and fiscal situation.

The assessment must be approved by both Houses of Parliament, before it is presented to the European Commission.

Key points of Budget 2015: At-a-glance

BBC News has summarised the key points of

the chancellor's Budget statement on 18 March.

Money
PA

Government response

House of Lords

Parliament

Treasury Minister Lord Deighton, replying to the debate, says: "I think everybody agrees the recession was caused by the financial crisis, starting with the American mortgage system."

However, he argues that "the rate at which public spending rose" under Labour "left this economy more exposed than it should have been".

He rejects a claim, made earlier by Labour peer Lord Layard, that the government has been "dismantling public services".

He claims that the government's focus is on "spending taxpayers money more carefully [and] looking at ways of reforming public services".

'Presided over failure'

House of Lords

Parliament

"This government has presided over failure," shadow Treasury spokesman Lord Davies of Oldham says, in Labour's closing speech in the Budget debate.

"The slowest recovery for over a century [and a] desperate price being extracted from ordinary people."

Labour would increase the minimum wage and protect the NHS, he adds.

Lord Davies of Oldham
BBC

Coalition praised

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Holmes of Richmond attacks the record of the last Labour government on public spending, during the Lords debate on the Budget.

"To increase spending by 20% on the NHS and only have a 2% increase in output, though well intended, can not be seen as a good use of public money," he argues.

He says the coalition government has delivered the highest growth "of any leading economy", low inflation and "low unemployment, with the highest level of employment ever".

Lord Holmes of Richmond
BBC

Thank you and goodnight

House of Commons

Parliament

Given this is the last adjournment debate of the Parliament, the remaining MPs spend the final few minutes of the day thanking each other and the officers of the House.

Health Minister Jane Ellison draws her remarks to a close by thanking "honourable members on all side for their attendance tonight and their interest in these important matters".

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing, who is in the chair, echoes "the gracious words of the honourable lady" and thanks the clerks of the House as well as the "honourable gentleman [Gordon Marsden] for bringing this last adjournment debate of this Parliament".

And with that MPs adjourn for the night. They'll return at 09.30 GMT tomorrow for business questions and to tie up of any bills at a loose end.

Stay with us tonight as peers continue their debate on the Budget statement.

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing
BBC
Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing

'Remembered for three things'

House of Lords

Parliament

"This government will be remembered for three things," says Liberal Democrat peer Lord Thomas of Gresford.

"First, that a coalition of the political parties can provide a strong and stable government.

"Secondly, that this coalition government pulled the country back from the bring of economic disaster."

The third thing, he adds, is that the government "set in train new and exciting developments in renewable energy".

Call for tax rate cut

House of Lords

Parliament

Debate on the Budget continues in the House of Lords, as crossbench peer and entrepreneur Lord Bilimoria calls for a cut in the top rate of tax, currently 45%.

He says it is "brilliant" that the government brought corporation tax "down to 20%" but adds: "The government doesn't have the guts to bring the income tax rate down to 40%."

He criticises both of the largest Westminster parties: Labour for spending too much, and the Conservatives for cutting too much.

He says the last Labour government made a "mistake" to increase public spending but warns of "unrealistic, drastic cuts" to public spending, including to the welfare state, under the Conservatives' plans.

Lord Bilimoria
BBC

'Unfair compensation'

House of Commons

Parliament

Gordon Marsden, who also chairs the all party group on veterans
BBC

Gordon Marsden, who also chairs the all party group on veterans, tells MPs there is a "disparity in the way in which different armed forces compensation schemes are treated when social care costs are being calculated".

Veterans who receive compensation from the "disabled armed forces compensation scheme", which has been in operation since April 2005, have all compensation income disregarded when considered for social care.

Those on the older War Pensions Schemes - including veterans from the Second World War - receive "far less support", Mr Marsden tells MPs.

"Our veterans should not be left, in circumstances financially that are unfair, by the state," he adds.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move to today's final business: the final adjournment debate of this Parliament.

It is led by Labour MP Gordon Marsden and is on social care and military compensation.

Who are the organisations?

House of Commons

Parliament

Jamaat ul-Ahrar (JuA) is a militant Islamist group that split away from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in 2014, and aims to establish an Islamic caliphate in Pakistan and aspires to extend global jihad into the Indian subcontinent.

The Haqqani Network (HQN) is an Islamist, nationalist group seeking to establish sharia law in Afghanistan. Ideologically aligned with the Afghanistan's former rulers Taliban and HQN aims to eradicate Western influence in Afghanistan.

Proscription order

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are now debating a motion to to ban two terrorist groups from the UK.

The order adds Jamaat ul-Ahrar (JuA) and the Haqqani Network (HQN) to the list of proscribed terrorist organisations.

Point of Order

House of Commons

Parliament

Angela Eagle
BBC

Shadow leader of the House Angela Eagle is raising a point of order.

Visibly angry, she tells MPs that a debate has been tabled tomorrow on proposed changes "to the way the Speaker of the House is elected and procedural changes" without "consultation with the opposition, and no consultation with the chair of the [administration] committee."

Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, who's in the chair, replies that it is for the government, "rightly or wrongly", to decide the business of the House.

Finance Bill passed

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have agreed to back the tax and duty changes announced in last week's budget by 307 votes to 226, a government majority of 81.

The bill will now pass through the House of Lords - a formality given peers cannot amend money bills - and then be sent for Royal Assent to become law.

Finance Bill votes

House of Commons

Parliament

The Finance Bill's six hours has come to an end - hasn't it just flown by - and complex series of votes are required to tidy the loose ends of the bill up.

Jim Hood puts the remaining clauses to a vote and the bill passes its committee stage on an oral vote, though it does take two attempts due to noise in the chamber. The report stage is skipped and MPs then divide to vote on the third reading of the bill, the bill's final stage in the commons. The results are expected at 19.15 GMT.

Not enough time

House of Commons

Parliament

Green MP Caroline Lucas complains that time for the Finance Bill has run out without all of the tabled amendments getting to be debated, "including a very important amendment that would close a tax dodging loophole for private equity firms."

Chair of the Committee of the Whole House Jim Hood replies "this is not a matter for me", and suggests Ms Lucas take the issue up with the procedural committee.

Amendment rejected

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs reject Labour's amendment to establish an impact assessment on raising corporation tax by 1% by 306 votes to 229, a government majority of 77, but back plans for:

Labour version

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Baroness Smith of Basildon challenges the coalition's reading of the economic crisis.

"We didn't have recession because we built too many schools and hospitals," she argues.

She insists that the recession did not start in the UK and the problems were global.

"The inconvenient truth for the government is that the economy was growing in 2010," she adds.

Baroness Smith of Basildon
BBC

Where do profits go?

House of Commons

Parliament

Ian Swales
BBC

Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales warns against speaking ill of businesses in this debate on corporation tax.

Many MPs speak of "retaining profit as some kind of evil" and characterise profits ending up in "high pay for people at the top", he argues.

But, he says, businesses use profits in different ways such as "paying more money to their shareholders - the vast majority of whom are public sector pensions - investing that money, employing more people, spending more money on innovation or spending more money with small and medium size enterprises in their supply chain".

'Candour deficit'

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Skidelsky argues: "No accelerated plan to reduce the deficit was required in 2010, just a rate of public spending growth somewhat less than the pre-crash GDP growth rate.

"That would have done the job."

The economic historian, who has been a member of Labour, the SDP and the Conservatives, questions where George Osborne's proposed "£35 billion of cuts he needs to meet his 2018-19 target" will come from.

"What we suffer from is a candour deficit, not a budget deficit," he claims.

Lord Skidelsky
BBC

Budget 2015

Chancellor George Osborne made his Budget statement to MPs on 18 March.

You can read Budget news, features and analysis from the BBC

here.

George Osborne with the budget briefcase
BBC

Amendment rejected

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs reject their second Labour amendment of the evening by 309 votes to 230, a government majority of 79.

Not to be deterred, Shabana Mahmood is back at the despatch box moving a third amendment to require the Chancellor to undertake an impact review on a cut of 1% to the main rate of Corporation Tax for the financial year 2016.

Budget debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Now, peers begin their debate on the Budget.

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton, opens for the government.

Lord Deighton
BBC

Amendment defeated

House of Lords

Parliament

The government comfortably avoids another defeat as Lord Hylton's amendment fails to attract enough support.

Peers reject it by 285 votes to 196 - a majority of 89.

Division in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers divide to vote on Lord Hylton's amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill.

The amendments aims to protect overseas domestic workers by allowing them to:

  • change their employer, provided they notify the government
  • renew their visa if they remain in employment and do not have recourse to public funds
  • obtain temporary visas if there is evidence that they have been victims of modern slavery

£100m figure

House of Commons

Parliament

Several MPs have highlighted a Treasury analysis from 2012, which estimated the switch to 45% would reduce tax revenue by about £100m, but Shabana Mahmood says the "trouble with the report is that there are too many uncertain variables to tell if this figure of £100m is even close to reality."

'Shoulder the burden'

House of Commons

Parliament

Moving the amendment for Labour, Shabana Mahmood tells MPs the question of income tax is "fundamentally about where we raise revenue from and who do we ask to shoulder the burden to bring down the deficit further."

Labour would put the top rate of tax back up to 50%, because under this government "people at the top end of the income spectrum are £100,000 a year better off and people at the bottom are £1,100 a year worse off."

'Lack of legal aid'

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Williams of Crosby criticises a "complete lack of any form of legal aid for this pathetically reimbursed and pathetically waged group in society".

Overseas domestic workers should have access to civil courts and employment tribunals, she argues.

Baroness Williams of Crosby
BBC

Income tax amendment

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to a Labour amendment to require the Chancellor to produce a report on the impact of setting the additional rate of income tax at 50%.

The 50% income tax rate was reduced to 45% for those who earn over £150,000 in taxable income in 2012.

The report must also estimate the impact of setting the additional rate at both 45% and at 50% on the amount of income tax currently paid by someone with a taxable income of £150,000 per year and £1m per year.

Amendment rejected

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs reject Labour's amendment to require an impact assessment on the decision to increase VAT to 20% by 305 votes to 231, a government majority of 74.

Labour backs Lord Hylton

House of Lords

Parliament

The shadow leader of the Lords, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, says Labour will back Lord Hylton's amendments.

She questions the government's proposal for six-month "victims' visas" for overseas domestic workers.

"Who would employ them for a mere six months?" she asks.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
BBC

Extending VAT

House of Commons

Parliament

Andrew Gwynne
BBC

Labour's Andrew Gwynne intervenes to point out that while the Conservatives have now ruled out a VAT rise, "they have not ruled out extending the scope of VAT to previously exempt items".

New amendments

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Hylton, who proposed the original amendment on domestic workers, thanks Lord Bates for showing "a truly listening ear" to his concerns.

However, he says he is still not content with the government's position, and proposes amendments applying to "overseas domestic workers entering the United Kingdom on the restricted domestic worker visa, including those working for the staff of diplomatic missions".

One of these new amendments would allow such workers to change their employer provided they notify the government; renew their visas if they remain in employment and do not have recourse to public funds; and to obtain temporary visas if there is evidence that they have been victims of modern slavery.

"I urge the government to accept it, even at this late hour," he says.

Lord Hylton
BBC

Clash between MPs and peers

House of Lords

Parliament

During the bill's report stage in February, peers backed an amendment to allow overseas domestic workers to change their employer after they have arrived in the UK and be granted extensions to their visa of up to twelve months at a time, to work either for the same employer or a new one, provided this is within the same work sector.

This represented a defeat for the government, and MPs overturned the amendment last week.

Lord Bates says the government has proposed its own protections including a six-month "victims' visa" for overseas domestic workers who are victims of slavery or trafficking.

The government has moved "many steps" to compromise with the verdict of the Lords, he argues.

Labour amendment

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour have tabled an amendment to require the Chancellor to publish a report on the impact of the increase in the standard rate of VAT to 20% - which took effect from 4 January 2011 - specifically on its impact on living standards, small businesses, the fairness of the taxation system, and economic growth.