Decision Making: The Tax Credits Act and Tax Credits Regulations
The main reason for this ‘two tier’ way of making the law, is that to create new primary legislation, the change must go through an Act of Parliament. An Act is a Bill approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and formally agreed to by the reigning monarch (known as Royal Assent).
Once an Act is in place the regulations (secondary legislation) are written to give detail to the Act, these only require Parliamentary approval.
To change secondary legislation is a much quicker and relatively simple matter of ‘laying’ the changes before Parliament for a minimum of 21 days, during which time any member can object. If there are no objections then the changes or additions become legislation from the date specified.
Although it is called the laying of legislation, the document is no longer actually laid on a table. Rather it is notified to the House by the Journal Office by whatever the current agreed means are.
Legislation subject to ‘negative resolution’ automatically becomes law unless there is an objection from either House.
Conversely ‘affirmative resolution’ means the legislation must be actively approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords to become law.