Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Lyell Lord Lyell Conservative 2:30 pm, 15th March 2012

I strongly support my noble friend and I hope that I might save some time. There was plenty that I was going to say on Clause 30 stand part, but thanks to the excellent and wonderful briefing that my noble friend the Duke of Montrose had from the Law Society of Scotland, I do not need to. I, too, have had a considerable briefing from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

When we discussed this at an earlier stage, I took a dig from my noble and learned friend the Advocate-General about the great singer Mr Andy Stewart. Mr Stewart used to sing, "Take me back"-and perhaps I can take your Lordships back to the Scotland Act 1998. On page 35, Section 75(6) says:

"In this section 'place' includes a place on board a vessel or other means of transport".

I direct the Committee's attention to page 24 of the Bill before us. New Section 80E(4) says just the same:

"In this section 'place' includes a place on board a vessel or other means of transport".

Both in 1998 and at Second Reading I raised the question of people who are employed on a means of transport-for example, lorry drivers-or at sea on a vessel. In 1998 the government spokesman, the noble Baroness, Lady Ramsay of Cartvale, referred to houseboats. That is absolutely fine. My noble friend has just spoken about people on oil rigs. I made inquiries and I understand that nothing has changed in 14 years, that "on board a vessel", as in this Bill and Section 75 of the Scotland Act, includes people on ferries. Perhaps I can direct my noble friend the tax specialist's attention to the ferries at Cairnryan or Stranraer.

Perhaps noble Lords who are experts in the law will be able to advise me, but I am given to understand that if a UK taxpayer-at Cairnryan or Stranraer it would be a Northern Ireland taxpayer-is on board that vessel, either when the clock strikes midnight or at a relevant time, he or she is deemed to be a Scottish taxpayer. Then you have to calculate how many days you are on board that vessel. You have to do some sums and we still do not know-it is rather like O-level algebra-what will be the proportion of the days you spend in Scotland or elsewhere in the United Kingdom. You have to deduct from that days you have spent outside the United Kingdom. That will come into the mix as well.

When we discussed this in 1998, my late noble friend Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish said that to classify UK taxpayers from Northern Ireland or elsewhere outside Scotland as being Scottish taxpayers because they were on board a ferry as part of their work would be "plain daft". He put it much better than I do, and I rest my case.