Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 6:00 pm, 15th March 2012

That is all very well and fine in theory, but I suspect that the answer to my question is that if the Minister goes back and says to his colleagues, "I have got this bright idea of devolving development land tax and landfill tax to local authorities in Scotland", he will get about 10 boxes full of reasons why this would not be desirable-not least because it would introduce different rates of tax all over the country for people who are involved in housing and other commercial developments. It is hardly in line with the Government's declared policy of simplification of taxation and less onerous regulation.

If I were to table a Question and ask what the Government's policy is on this and why, I am sure that they would come up with a whole load of reasons. My noble friend has said, "Oh well, it is for the Scottish Parliament to decide". No, it is not. At the moment this a uniform tax throughout the United Kingdom, as I understand it, and the Government have decided to devolve it to Scotland. In devolving it to Scotland, whether or not it will be circumscribed by a requirement to apply it uniformly is an important point. In considering what the impact might be on Scotland, my noble friend seems far more relaxed than in considering what the impact might be on England. If he says that that is central to the whole devolution idea and that we must trust the Scottish Parliament to use this power in this way, I just say to him that if, as I suspect will happen, the Scottish Parliament does devolve it but does not let the local authorities keep the money, he will find quite a number of English local authorities knocking on his door citing the precedent-and especially so if they decide to allow the local authorities to keep the money.

Rather than just saying, "Oh well, it is Scotland and devolution and so it must be a good thing to let them decide", my noble friend might like to think about whether it would sensible to circumscribe this in some way. However, having discussed the matter, I am happy to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 58A withdrawn.

Amendment 58B not moved.

Clause 33 agreed.

Clause 34 agreed.

Clause 35 : Scottish tax on disposals to landfill

Amendment 58C not moved.

Clause 35 agreed.

Clause 36 agreed.

Amendment 59

Moved by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

59: After Clause 36, insert the following new Clause-

"Air passenger duty

(1) In Part 4A of the 1998 Act (as inserted by section 28), after Chapter 4 (inserted by section 35) insert-

"CHAPTER 5Air passenger duty

80L Air passenger duty

(1) A duty of excise which is levied on the carriage, from a Scottish airport, of chargeable passengers on chargeable aircraft, is a devolved tax.

(2) In this section-

"chargeable passenger" refers, subject to sections 31 and 32 of the Finance Act 1994, to every passenger on an aircraft if their flight begins at an airport in Scotland;

"chargeable aircraft" refers, subject to section 29 of the Finance Act 1994, to every aircraft designed or adapted to carry persons in addition to the flight crew."