Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:59 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart Conservative, Milton Keynes South 2:59 pm, 27th January 2011

I am explaining why I do not think the provisions in the current Scotland Act are sufficient, and why I welcome the measures to increase substantially the power of the Scottish Parliament to raise a significant chunk of its own revenue. There are still concerns about how they will be implemented, and I raised that point during Scottish questions yesterday. I have been reassured that proper consultation is taking place with members of the business community in Scotland, who will have to administer many of the new arrangements, but I urge my colleagues on the Front Bench to keep a close watch on the increased regulatory burden on businesses at a time when they can ill afford much additional bureaucracy.

I think the HMRC bodies should consider the possibility of certain unintended consequences. There is, for instance, the question of how payments into personal pension plans which attract the adding back on of basic or higher-rate tax contributions should be treated. If in the past contributions have been made at the United Kingdom rate and added back on, a different Scottish rate will create potential anomalies when it comes to how that income is treated. I suspect that a fairly small amount is involved overall, but it is an important detail that ought to be clarified before the Bill is implemented.

I welcome the move to devolve some taxes, and I hope that more can be devolved in time. I hope that, for instance, the issues surrounding the aggregates levy and air passenger duty issues will be resolved. I do not believe that this is the end of the story; I trust that those two taxes will eventually be devolved, and that the Scottish Parliament will be given greater fiscal autonomy.

I referred earlier to the book that I co-authored. Part of our research involved international comparisons.