Committee (4th Day)

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

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 5:30 pm, 15th March 2012

I am most grateful for that very helpful intervention. I am glad that the noble Lord has a clear understanding of how this principle will be applied. However, I do not buy the argument that it is about the UK. Of course it is about the UK, but we still elect Members to the House of Commons from Scotland who are responsible for tax policy in the United Kingdom as a whole. If they support a Government who decide to cut taxes to create growth, they are accountable at the ballot box.

Let us take one of the recommendations of my tax reform commission-it has been abducted by the Liberal Democrat party-to raise the threshold for basic rate taxpayers. That is an example of something that would be compensated for. That is an example of a policy that is being applied across the United Kingdom. The threshold is being raised and it is very expensive. There is a substantial cost to it, and in order to achieve it other services are going to be less generously dealt with than they would otherwise be. Members of Parliament standing at a general election for the House of Commons are accountable for that. However, it is very odd indeed if it is argued that the Member for Stirling in the House of Commons is accountable for the policy that cuts the taxes, whereas the MSP for Stirling is not accountable because a cheque is sent north of the border to compensate for the consequences of this.