Scotland Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 29th February 2016.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 9:30 pm, 29th February 2016

My Lords, I will speak briefly in support of Amendment 60, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope. I am sure the Minister will be advised that it is not necessary to include this in the Bill but it would be excellent if he were to give an undertaking at least to produce a draft Bill. I am not a lawyer, but I have certainly found it extremely difficult to cope with the piecemeal changes that have been made over the years and to follow the cross-references back to the 1998 Act. The noble Lord has made probably the most sensible suggestion of the evening.

I presume the noble Lord, Lord McAvoy, will not press his amendment to a Division or anything of that kind. The Labour Party is in its debating society mode at present. When the Minister responds to the amendment, which is about setting up this welfare monitoring joint committee, will he answer a question I asked earlier, arising from the fiscal framework? Paragraphs 16 and 17 appear to contradict each other. Paragraph 16 says:

“For welfare, and all other spending unless stated otherwise in this agreement, the chosen method will be the Barnett formula”.

However, paragraph 17 says that,

“whilst achieving the outcome delivered by the Indexed Per Capita (IPC) method for tax and welfare”.

This is very important, because it makes a considerable difference to the amount of money that is available for welfare purposes in Scotland. Will the Minister indicate which I am to believe: paragraph 16, which would involve a substantial cut in the current budget, or paragraph 17, which appears to contradict it?