Scotland’s Fiscal Framework — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:43 pm on 24th February 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Dunlop Lord Dunlop The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland 3:43 pm, 24th February 2016

My Lords, I thank the noble Lords, Lord McAvoy and Lord Stephen, for their support and their response to the Statement. This deal provides an opportunity to move the debate in Scotland on from process to policy, as the Secretary of State for Scotland said in the House of Commons earlier. The noble Lord, Lord McAvoy, talked about the rules for Report, and that is a matter to be discussed through the usual channels.

Turning directly to the point about time to scrutinise the deal, again, as the Secretary of State made clear to the House of Commons, my strong expectation is that the agreement will be published tomorrow and available to noble Lords. I will write to all Peers making it available to them. I also take this opportunity to offer an all-Peers briefing tomorrow with the Treasury.

The issue of intergovernmental relations was raised. I know that this is a matter of great interest; the Constitution Committee has issued a report on it. The noble Lord, Lord Smith, said:

“There should be no doubt that this was a highly complex package of measures to agree. It is difficult to imagine a bigger test of inter-governmental relationships … This provides an excellent basis for constructive engagement between the governments long into the future”.

That is what gives me hope that it will be possible to reach agreement when we come to the review in five years’ time. We must use the time in between to build those intergovernmental working relationships. The fact that this review will be informed by an independent report will help in that process. To address directly what the noble Lord, Lord McAvoy, asked, this will be a review without prejudice and a review by agreement, and it will not be imposed.

The noble Lord, Lord Stephen, talked about full fiscal autonomy, and I have to say that I look forward to the day when the SNP tries to reconcile the no-detriment principle with separation.