Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Sassoon Lord Sassoon The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury 4:30 pm, 15th March 2012

Well, my Lords, let me give it a go. My noble friend is not easy to satisfy on these things, but I argue that it is entirely consistent with my arguments for the rest of this afternoon to say that this provision, as drafted, gives simple and clear guidance for a category of individuals, namely Members of any of the three parliaments, that they do, for the avoidance of doubt, have a close connection with Scotland and should therefore fall into the "Scottish taxpayer" definition. It is as simple as that. Once one accepts, which I am not sure that my noble friend does, that the close-connection test should be at the heart of this, I suggest that this is a simple follow-on from that, an avoidance-of-doubt provision which is entirely appropriate. We have spoken today about members of the Armed Forces who may not have a choice about where they serve, but it is right that a Member of any Parliament who has chosen to serve a Scottish constituency is for the avoidance of doubt treated as a Scottish taxpayer. They have a clear connection to Scotland which should be recognised and which is consistent with the basic provisions of the test that we are talking about.