Scotland Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 29th February 2016.

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Photo of Lord McCluskey Lord McCluskey Crossbench 7:15 pm, 29th February 2016

Forgive me—yes. The document that talks about the unintended consequences is the House of Lords document.

One thing is foreseeable: that the Scottish population will decline in relation to the UK population because, as the noble Lord, Lord McFall, pointed out, that has been the position for hundreds of years. In law, or certain branches of it, if you can foresee the consequences of your actions, you are deemed to intend them.

I do not want to go through all my 14 points, but I have the greatest difficulty in understanding paragraphs 15 to 19. I do not understand what is meant by “Income tax, 87.7%”—per cent of what? These things are rather difficult, and they are not explained. Not being an accountant, I am unable to follow entirely what is going on.

I repeat the point that was made a little earlier: if Scotland’s population declines in relation to that of the rest of the UK, the funding will not go down under this document. Funding per capita is bound to rise; that is just inevitable. So I do not see how we can have “no detriment” to Scotland without causing detriment to other taxpayers throughout the United Kingdom.

On a point of detail that I hope will be echoed by my noble and learned friend Lord Hope of Craighead, the courts and tribunals are dealt with in paragraph 28. There is no agreement, apparently, as to who is to pay for the Supreme Court. I am not sure whether it is regarded as a court in Scotland or a court in the United Kingdom. That is a small detail.

I have little more to say. However, I do not understand how the £200 million figure and others related to it can possibly be justified. They are certainly not justified within the document.

My other amendment relating to this issue concerned the independent scrutiny of these matters in Scotland. However, this is now going to be dealt with by a government amendment and I give notice that I will not seek to move Amendment 67.