Scotland Bill - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 22nd February 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Dunlop Lord Dunlop The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland 8:15 pm, 22nd February 2016

As I said, what we require in terms of legislation for borrowing depends on the final agreement. I do not think I can say more than that at the moment.

I shall conclude on a couple of points. Smith calls for a review and the Government support that idea. We are in a new world and it is right to assess how the fiscal framework and fiscal devolution work in practice and whether they impact fairly and equitably on the finances of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

I have already mentioned independent fiscal scrutiny, and the amendment from the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, addresses this. It is certainly the case that the UK Government strongly support a robust independent Scottish Fiscal Commission. That would include the capacity for that body to undertake independent forecasts—it would not just, as it were, be marking the Scottish Government’s homework. That is one of the key issues in the fiscal framework negotiations.

Finally, on commencement, my noble friend’s amendment is relevant in proposing a sunrise clause if we are unable to agree a fiscal framework. As we have already discussed, we are working hard to agree a fiscal framework. As I said earlier, I do not think that it is helpful to speculate what options would be open to us if an agreement cannot be reached. My noble friend suggested one option, and other options have been suggested as well. We will take those ideas away and set out our conclusions on Report. I therefore ask noble Lords not to press their amendments.

I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 75 withdrawn.