Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan Labour 3:15 pm, 15th March 2012

I am grateful to the Minister for seeking to respond to this very complex issue. The kind of people who are likely to be affected by this may well be those who are currently employed in the public sector and whose wages are being considered for possibly no longer having a national rate. We could have the anomalous position of someone working for a local authority in Berwickshire being paid the same rate as someone in Northumberland-which is probably less than some other parts of the county-but ending up, because of the universal credit, getting paid more through benefit compensation than people south of the border in Cumbria or Northumberland, because they are being charged a higher rate of tax in Scotland. This kind of anomaly is going to create all kinds of difficulties. This form of taxation may not be the cause of it, but it will certainly be an exacerbating factor and have social consequences of quite a dire character.