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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 4:15 pm, 21st March 2012

I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Sewel is not here. I beg your Lordships' pardon. I mean my noble friend Lord Sassoon. It was a Freudian slip. The noble Lord, Lord Sewel, will be forever associated in my mind with the Scotland Bill because he, of course, was the midwife of the legislation.

I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Sassoon is not with us because this amendment relates to the extraordinary revelations that we had at some stage during our 10-hour Sitting on Thursday about how the tax-raising powers of the Scottish Parliament would operate. I see that the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, is in his place. I have always held him in the highest regard. I first came across him when he used to guide us through UKREP in the European Union negotiations on the social chapter. He is not someone who is easily lost to detail. He expressed a surprise that I and lots of people felt. I am of course not a supporter but, as he indicated when we discussed this before, the whole idea of giving the Scottish Parliament a tax-raising power to set the Scottish income tax means that part of the block that has hitherto been determined by the Barnett formula would have to be raised in income tax. If the Scottish Parliament wished to raise more, it would have to raise the Scottish rate of income tax.