Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Sassoon Lord Sassoon The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury 4:45 pm, 15th March 2012

My Lords, I see a clear distinction between the previous category of people and parliamentarians, who are different in a number of respects, not least because they are specifically tied, in a very clear way that we well understand, to the electorate and a constituency in Scotland. However, the extent to which a judge, a Peer or a civil servant could be said to have responsibilities for Scotland will vary enormously from case to case. My noble friend has said that this is a probing amendment and that he is not serious about it, so it would be wrong to criticise the amendment for the flaws in its drafting, but goodness knows how one would go about defining what "responsibilities" means in this context and how the test would apply in practice. It would be very difficult.

I certainly agree with the sentiment that we do not want to go down the slippery slope that the noble Lord, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, identifies of putting lots of people into some special category. Obviously, many judges, civil servants and, dare I say it, Peers will have a close connection with Scotland and will therefore be caught or encompassed by the definition of "Scottish taxpayer" as defined in the draft Bill. I am with the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, in that I do not think we should go further down this route other than in the specific case of the parliamentarians, where the considerations are different in a number of respects, not least because they are very specifically tied to Scotland in a way that this other, looser, category would not be. It is right that the individuals identified in Amendment 54D should have the conditions A and B applied in the same way as all other taxpayers. On that basis, I would yet again ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.