Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Sassoon Lord Sassoon The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury 4:00 pm, 15th March 2012

My Lords, my noble friend's amendment would introduce the concept of split-year treatment for those who move between the UK and Scotland during the tax year. I quite accept that a more accurate split of tax payments based on the time an individual spends in Scotland and the rest of the UK might in theory be desirable, but it would add very considerable cost and complexity to the system. As I took pains to point out in the previous discussion, in the Bill, we have been trying to keep the overlay of the application of the Scottish rate as simple as possible. My noble friend continually postulates circumstances in which there is a higher rate of income tax in Scotland and he puts the case of somebody who is disadvantaged by spending a relatively small amount of the year in Scotland but being caught by the definition for the whole year. I could equally well give cases that might apply the other way round. I accept that, in theory, the system should more closely be related to the amount of time an individual actually spends in Scotland. Theoretically, one cannot argue about that, but it would introduce cost and complexity into the system without the advantage or disadvantage going in one particular direction. What should rule here when we come to the practical application-