Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 15th March 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Browne of Ladyton Lord Browne of Ladyton Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland) 5:30 pm, 15th March 2012

I enter this fantastic debate, as it develops, with some trepidation. It has perhaps been less illuminating than it could have been because, with respect to the noble Lord, people are using terms very carelessly. This is not a comparison between taxation in England and in Scotland; it is a comparison between decisions that are made for the UK and the consequences of this provision being devolved to Scotland.

I am not going to go any further because if I try to extemporise I am in danger of confusing this debate even more. It may be better if noble Lords wait to see whether the Government write to show how this will work, as they intend to. It is far from the case that those who understand how this works are surprised by this no-detriment policy. This no-detriment policy is actually at the heart of what we are doing because it is about accountability for an element of the tax-raising power, and that has to be sustained. Therefore, decisions made by the UK Government for all of the UK that undermine that accountability have to be compensated for in a balancing mechanism.

I go no further than that. I keep it very general. However, many of these examples that have been used to try to explain what is going on here are very far off the mark because they are comparing apples and pears. This is about what the UK Government do and the effect of that on the principle that we are trying to establish in this Bill.