Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Sassoon Lord Sassoon The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury 3:45 pm, 15th March 2012

My Lords, in answer to the first question, there are lots of situations where employers may move people around as a requirement of their employment contract. That is not by any means confined to the Ministry of Defence. People in a number of professions and occupations are moved around from one tax jurisdiction to another. Differential tax rates comprise a factor that needs to be taken into account in the total benefit package. The Armed Forces build that into the packages of servicemen working here or elsewhere.

As regards voting, I am getting into difficult philosophical discussions concerning tax without representation that could keep us going deep into the night. However, my understanding is that we are talking about a very specific matter to do with a rate of income tax which is quite separate from the law that relates to where people can vote.

In answer to the question from the noble Lord, Lord Browne of Ladyton, I have made the general point that employers need to consider total packages. However, I can give him specific reassurance that in the event that Scottish and UK rates differ at any point in the future, the Ministry of Defence will do what I suggested any employer has to do, which is to explore options to mitigate the effects of different rates of tax by using processes which are currently used for personnel serving abroad. I am glad to confirm that it will do what I rather expected it would.