Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 15th March 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Labour 5:00 pm, 15th March 2012

I am not sure exactly where we are, but as my noble friend Lord Maxton drew my attention to the fact that there is this very interesting dialogue taking place, I was listening carefully to it. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Steel, for his immediate understanding.

I am slightly disturbed because all along we have been talking about giving the Scottish Parliament greater accountability. That is why I am in favour of full fiscal autonomy, as I shall be arguing later. However, even if Scotland has full fiscal autonomy, if at any point it then goes, Oliver Twist-like, back to the Treasury and says, "I want some more", then that will not be full fiscal autonomy.

With these proposals in the Bill we are halfway towards full fiscal autonomy. I do not know whether the Treasury Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Sassoon, has seen that Alex Salmond has now come up with a list of what he calls shovel-ready projects-an awful-sounding term-that he wants the Treasury to provide huge amounts of money for. This is his technique. I am not sure whether I have got to the nub of the point that the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, is making but at least it has given him an opportunity to sit down and think for a while. I was enjoying the Forsyth saga-that was inevitable-but I question whether it has revealed a flaw, in that we are not going to get the kind of autonomy that we want.