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, at the risk of repeating myself, the Government undertook to come back, having looked at this again. We have; we consulted the Scottish Government; and we consider that there are lots of individual situations that can be called anomalous, but that there are just lots of individual circumstances related to Armed Forces personnel and a lot of other categories of people who should be taken into account when considering how the Bill will operate. On reflection and after consultation, it was decided that the basic test of close connection should apply to the armed services, as it will to everybody else. I accept that how it works out will depend on an individual's circumstances.

As I explained as clearly as possible, not only will guidance be given so that individual members of the armed services know how to interpret the test, but-I repeat again-in the event that Scottish and UK rates differ at any point in future, the Ministry of Defence will consider exploring options to mitigate the effects of different rates of tax by using existing processes used for personnel serving abroad. The metric is already there for service personnel sent abroad.

In answer to my noble friend's further point, I do not believe that that should be written into the Bill. It is something that the Ministry of Defence does in the normal course of events-it looks at the anomalies, in his terms.