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 Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 3:45 pm, 15th March 2012

I agree with the noble Lord, which is why my amendment proposes that if they are in military rented accommodation, they should not have to pay. Another way to deal with it would be to give them the choice of where they pay their tax. As it stands, their position is anomalous. I must say to my noble friend that if I were a member of the armed services listening to him saying that there are a number of options that the MoD will look at, I would not be very satisfied. We need clarity, particularly because so many Scots serve in the armed services and so many bases to which members of the forces are deployed are in Scotland. On the argument about accountability, as my noble friend said, many of them will not have had the opportunity to vote in the Scottish parliamentary elections on the taxes that will be imposed on them.

The military are a special case, and my noble friend ought to say that he will take this away and come back with a government amendment to deal with it, either in the terms that he suggested-that the MoD would provide compensation-or some other terms. Simply saying that the Bill provides for it and it is just about applying the test of close connection will not do.