Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Conservative, Epping Forest 1:40 pm, 27th January 2011

It is always a pleasure to speak after Pete Wishart-and sometimes at the same time as him. I always admire his passion and his genuine belief that he is doing the best thing for Scotland. I hope he does not mind me saying that his heart is in the right place, but unfortunately his head and his fiscal understanding are not.

The hon. Gentleman made some important points, particularly about tax-raising powers and the effect of this Bill. I was much perplexed by his response to my intervention a few moments ago. Whether the amount is £800 million or £600 million-or whatever the very large sum is that he and his party argue was spent in Scotland over the past decade but would not have been if the Bill had been in place-his answer was that that money came from the Scottish taxpayer. That is not correct: the money came from the UK taxpayer.

With equal passion, Mr MacNeil, who has unfortunately just left the Chamber, begged a few moments ago that the people of Scotland should be protected from cuts. The people of Scotland cannot be protected any more than the people in the rest of the United Kingdom from the effects of 13 years of bad financial management of our country's economy by the Labour Government.