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, Amendment 54G would indeed require the Treasury to consult interested parties, specifically including the Scottish Government and Parliament, on its plans. It may be helpful to explain the Treasury's new approach to tax policy-making, which was published with the 2010 Budget, because that sets out the Government's commitment to consult on tax changes in legislation. Secondary legislation made under the power in proposed new Section 80G would be treated no differently, so we already have a commitment to consultation through the Government's general approach to consultation on tax changes. Indeed, in the context of the Bill and through its technical groups, the Government are already consulting on further changes needed as a result of the Scottish rate. The Scottish Government have been involved in these discussions, so I have absolutely no difficulty with the underlying concern that my noble friend seeks to address here. I simply point him to the fact that since 2010, under the new framework which the coalition Government have put in place, we are doing all these things already on a UK-wide basis under the policy that we announced.

It is important to recognise, nevertheless, that any changes which are made as a consequence of the introduction of the Scottish rate will still need to fit within the wider UK income tax system. I believe it is correct that while the Government are committed to consulting with the Scottish Government, Ministers and Parliament, and with others as part of our general approach, the Government should nevertheless have the final say on how these matters are handled, just as they do on how matters are handled across the UK tax system. On that basis, I again ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.