Scotland Bill: Committee stage day four

16 March 2012

The Scotland Bill continued committee stage in the House of Lords yesterday (Thursday 15 March), receiving further line by line scrutiny by members. Lords debated Scottish income, land and airport taxes.

The first batch of amendments, Amendments 53, 55, 56 and 57, dealt with the Scottish rate of income tax including a referendum on increasing the Scottish rate and were withdrawn or not moved.

Amendment 54J to Clause 30 moved by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Conservative) was agreed and 'requires the Treasury to consult and obtain the consent of the Scottish Parliament before using its powers to change tax rules by order.'

Changes to Clause 33, covered Scottish tax on transactions involving interests in land. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour) had intended to oppose Clause 33 being part of the bill in Amendment 58A but as 'such a full debate' was held he felt it was no longer necessary. The amendment moved by Lord Forsyth was later withdrawn after he voiced his concerns to Lord Sassoon (Conservative) who was responding to questions on behalf of the government.

Members scrutinised air passenger duty and debated whether it should become a devolved tax: 'a duty of excise which is levied on the carriage, from a Scottish airport, of chargeable passengers on chargeable aircraft' in Amendment 59.

Lord Forsyth said this was 'a probing amendment' and argued for specific new and devolved taxes. He explained: 'This is an example of where the Scottish parliament might cut rather than increase taxes. It is a tax in a country that is highly dependent on tourism and on people who commute from Scotland to London...' Lord Forsyth asked the government to consider bringing forward an amendment considering the Calman recommendations for order-making powers being applied specifically rather than generally. The amendment was withdrawn.

Members will continue committee stage (day five) on Wednesday 21 March.

Catch up on committee day three (Tuesday 28 February)

Catch up on committee day two (Thursday 2 February)

Catch up on committee stage day one

The previous stage (Second Reading) took place on 6 December 2011.

What is the committee stage?

During committee stage, detailed line-by-line examination of separate clauses and schedules of the bill takes place. Any member of the Lords can take part. It can last for one or two days to eight or more. This stage usually starts no fewer than two weeks after the second reading.

The day before committee stage starts, amendments (proposals for change) are published in order in a Marshalled List. Amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a 'groupings of amendments' is published on the day. Lords must agree to every clause of the bill and vote on the amendments. All proposed amendments can be discussed and there is no time limit for discussion.

After the committee stage, the bill is reprinted with all the agreed amendments and is moved to report stage for further examination.

Next stage: report stage

Report stage in the chamber gives all members of the Lords further opportunity to consider all amendments (proposals for change) to a bill. It usually starts at least 14 days after committee stage. It can be spread over several days (but usually fewer days than at committee stage).

Before report stage takes place

  • The day before report stage starts, amendments are published in a Marshalled List – in which all the amendments are placed in order.
  • On the day, amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a list (groupings of amendments) is published.

What happens at report stage?

  • Detailed line by line examination of the bill continues.
  • Votes can take place and any member can take part.

Further information

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