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 Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 4:30 pm, 15th March 2012

My Lords, I do not think the Minister made the case for having this in the Bill when he was trying to give an example of someone who might be caught, notwithstanding the reminiscences of former Liberal MPs for Scotland, or whichever party they were from. This does not exist nowadays. If you were an elected Member and there was an idea that you were avoiding Scottish income tax, the practicalities would be death and destruction. The measure is completely unnecessary. As the noble Lord, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who was advertised on the annunciator as the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth-I say this in case Hansard gets it wrong-said, this is a bad principle.

On the earlier amendment, I referred to there being a real injustice in respect of the armed services and I was arguing for a specific provision for them. My noble friend responded by saying, "We think that the existing tests cover it and therefore I am not going to do it". I cannot reconcile these two competing bits of logic. If his position is that the criteria provide a clear view as to whether or not you are caught, why single out Members of Parliaments? I suspect its origins can be found back in the debates about the impact of a Scottish income tax and whether Scottish MPs would be caught, and that has been written into the Bill.

The provision is completely unnecessary and I hope that my noble friend will think about taking it out. Apart from anything else, it would reduce the number of column inches of legislation which a Government committed to it would produce. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 54C withdrawn.

Amendment 54D

Moved by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

54D: Clause 30, page 23, line 21, at end insert-

"(d) a judge, peer or civil servant with responsibilities for, or a close connection with, Scotland (see section 80E)"