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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:45 pm on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Labour 8:45 pm, 21st March 2012

I thank the Minister for giving way. On the specific of timing, in response to the comment of the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, that the timing perhaps does not matter as much as the issue of the Electoral Commission and the other issues we have been discussing, we should be cautious. It seems to me, with the Scottish unemployment rate now higher than in the rest of the United Kingdom and Scottish growth now below that of the rest of the United Kingdom, there is a degree of urgency about resolving this uncertainty. I hope that the Government will not de-prioritise the timing of the referendum in order to secure agreement on the other issues. Timing the referendum in advance of some date nearly three years away is vital if Scotland is going to get the growth and jobs that it badly needs.