Scotland Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 29th February 2016.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland 10:00 pm, 29th February 2016

I am obliged to your Lordships and particularly grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead, for his contributions on this matter. As will be appreciated, the powers in question can be used only in consequence of provisions in the Bill. The power to make consequential, transitional and saving provisions of this type are not exceptional or unusual in primary legislation of this ilk. Indeed, Section 105, together with Section 113, of the Scotland Act 1998 provided a similar power. The Scotland Act 2012 also contained consequential powers.

When consequential amendments were identified as necessary during the course of preparation of the Bill, they have been included in the Bill. For instance, Clause 10 makes provision in consequence of the clauses relating to elections. However, given the nature of the Bill, involving significant devolution of legislative and executive powers, it is difficult to anticipate the full extent of the consequential changes required when the provisions are commenced to put them on the face of the Bill. Therefore, it is possible that, following Royal Assent, legislation may be needed to amend and deal with the consequent provisions of the Act. In those circumstances, the Government considered it both necessary and appropriate to include this provision in the Bill.

However, following the views of the Regulatory Reform and Delegated Powers Committee, and those expressed in this House in Committee, we have brought forward an amendment to Clause 68. The effect of the amendment is that the power to amend future enactments, future prerogative instruments, any other future instruments or documents and Welsh and Northern Irish legislation, whenever made, will apply only to Part 3 of the Bill, the only part of the Bill dealing with welfare provisions. Amendments 62A, 62C, 65A and 65B limit the scope of the consequential, transitional and saving power as it applies to Parts 1, 4, 5 and 6 of the Bill. I hope that reassures noble Lords on the proper scope of these provisions.

Amendment 71A provides that Clauses 3 to 12 do not commence automatically two months after Royal Assent, but instead come into force on such a day as the Secretary of State may appoint by regulations. We have identified some consequential and savings provisions that may be required, and they require careful co-ordination with commencement of Clauses 3 to 12. They are largely concerned with electoral law. Commencement by regulations will facilitate such co-ordination. We do not expect to delay commencement for too long after the Scottish parliamentary elections have taken place in May 2016. In these circumstances, I invite noble Lords not to move their amendments and to accept the Government’s amendments.

Amendment 61 withdrawn.

Amendments 61A and 62 not moved.