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Lord Thomas of Gresford: I am most grateful to the noble and learned Lord for his explanation of the reasons for the reservation of these matters. The excellence and integrity of judges in Scotland is not only beyond reproach but is of the highest repute in the common law world. But the noble and learned Lord misses my point. He looks at it from the point of view of the Scottish parliament reducing or increasing remuneration. I am concerned about what the public may think of a judiciary appointed on the nomination of the first minister in Scotland. Those judges will be administering Scottish law in Scottish courts but they will be paid for from Westminster. It would appear that some vestigial control over the judiciary remained with Westminster. What if Westminster with a different style of government decides to reduce or increase the salaries of judicial officers in this way?

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: I should indicate that the provisions in the Bill relating to judicial salaries have the full support of the judges in Scotland. They were particularly concerned because this Bill conferred upon them the duty of judging a whole lot of matters in relation to vires and so on and a constitutional role which had not hitherto been theirs in the full sense in which it would be conferred in future. In that situation it was felt by the judges to be important, in line with what occurred in other situations, that the position relating to their salaries, appointment and removal should be dealt with as carefully as possible. We had particular regard to the question of appointment and removal, to which we shall turn when we reach Clause 89 and the matters to be dealt with in that regard. Not all of those matters are entirely devolved because in certain instances there is a role for the Prime Minister.

As to remuneration of judges in Scotland, that has been determined for many years by reference to the same independent reports of the Top Salaries Review Body. We felt confident that that body would be the appropriate one to deal with our salaries in the foreseeable future. It is for that reason that the judges in Scotland ask that arrangements of the kind that the Government have put in place should continue.

Lord Hardie: Perhaps I may say in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, that although the determination of remuneration will be in accordance with the findings of the Top Salaries Review Body, when it comes to payment of salaries that is not reserved and will come out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

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The Scottish people will see judges being appointed on the recommendation of the first minister, perhaps removed by the Scottish parliament--hopefully, never--but being paid out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund. All that will be determined outwith Scotland is the level of salary in accordance with the English rate and the recommendations of the Top Salaries Review Body.

Lord Selkirk of Douglas: I am grateful to the Lord Advocate for his reply. I certainly would not wish to press the matter at this time. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 222 not moved.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe): Before I call Amendment No. 222ZA, I should inform the Committee that, if it is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 222A to 222E inclusive because of pre-emption.

[Amendment No. 222ZA not moved.]

Lord Selkirk of Douglas moved Amendment No. 222A:

Page 82, line 36, at end insert--
("The prohibition of discrimination in higher education.").

The noble Lord said: I shall speak to this amendment very briefly. I note that an announcement was made today or very recently that Sir William Quigley is to chair the independent commission.

The amendment applies not only to the charging of fees. It could relate to the provision of accommodation or other forms of provision. But, obviously, the amendment stems from the injustice of making students at Scots universities from other parts of the United Kingdom pay more than Scots students and more than students from Europe. I think that students from other parts of Britain studying for a fourth year at Scots universities would be much more likely to be treated equitably and generously by a Scots parliament than by the United Kingdom Parliament under this Government. Blatant discrimination is contrary to the Scottish educational tradition; and in any case discrimination will be outlawed by the Human Rights Act. So I shall be very interested to hear what the Minister has to say in reply to the amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Perhaps I may say a few words to my noble friend's amendment. I suspect that my noble friend is trying to rub salt into the Government's wounds on the climb-down decision that they were forced to make on the whole subject of student fees for students from other parts of the United Kingdom. I know that that is an unworthy thought and that my noble friend would never think such a thing; but, if he did not, I congratulate him on his amendment because it certainly indicates to us that the Scottish parliament will have a role--indeed, a very considerable role--in higher education.

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Perhaps this would be a good opportunity for the Minister to confirm that the Scottish parliament would be entirely within its vires if it were to decide that students coming to Scottish universities should not be discriminated against on the basis of their country of origin. I should have thought that that was well within the Race Relations Act 1976, which I notice is a reserved matter. But it seems to me that discrimination against English, Welsh and Northern Irish students is just as naughty as discrimination against students of any other nationality or origin.

I know I shall be told that it is not a question of nationality but of place of residence. However, I suspect that if the Government were in opposition they would not be too willing to make that distinction. If we had come forward with a policy as ridiculous as the one they have come forward with, Mr. Brian Wilson would have had a field day--a field day much better than the one he had in trying to defend the policy.

I should like confirmation from the Minister that the Scottish parliament will be able to say to the Scottish universities that, wherever the students come from, they should not be asked to pay a fourth year tuition fee in an honours degree course and that therefore all the students in the queue, so to speak, for matriculation will be there on the same basis, which is what they will be on elsewhere in the United Kingdom. If the Minister says that that will happen, perhaps I may add that, unless his party changes its view on this issue, I suspect that it will be alone in entering the elections for the Scottish parliament pledged not to give this help to students attending Scottish universities and thus to discourage students further from attending these same Scottish universities.

I understand that the Scottish National Party has pledged to find the money and to right this clear wrong. I made it perfectly clear in the debate on the matter that we would find the money to right this clear wrong. I suspect that the Liberal Democrats would happily do the same. It would be interesting to hear the Minister telling us whether it will be in the Labour Party's campaign guide for the elections to the Scottish parliament to remove this anomaly, which its colleagues at Westminster have inflicted on the Scottish university scene.

11.30 p.m.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: I assume that the noble Lord, Lord Selkirk of Douglas, would never dream of rubbing salt into the wounds and that there are other forms of discrimination as well as the one over which the Government got into trouble on the charging of extra fees to students from England.

Lord Sewel: I had thought I might receive a speech in support from the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon.

Lord Howie of Troon: All I have to say is thank you.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Is the Minister indicating that he is feeling uncomfortable at the fact

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that all the supporters he had on a previous debate have suddenly vanished from the scene of the Scotland Bill as quickly as they appeared?

Lord Sewel: No, I am confident that I shall be able to persuade Members opposite of the goodness and rightness of my cause. I am perfectly confident in responding to the amendment. It gives me the opportunity to use one of those phrases of your Lordships' House that I have always wanted to use. Heaven forfend that the noble Lord, Lord Selkirk of Douglas, would wish to rub salt into anyone's wounds. He is too gracious an opponent to do that.

There is a problem about banning discrimination in higher education. Discrimination is an essential part of higher education. We discriminate in higher education usually on the ground of ability. I do not suggest that the noble Lord is arguing that all students should receive the same degrees on the basis of the amendment.

I understand the sentiments underlying the noble Lord's proposal. However, I believe that equal opportunities legislation can be most effectively handled on a GB basis. I am therefore rather surprised that the noble Lord has singled out the prohibition of discrimination in higher education in this way. His amendment would mean that the Scottish parliament could legislate about prohibiting discrimination on any ground in higher education while the competence to legislate to prohibit discrimination in all other walks of life would remain with the UK Parliament. I do not believe that it would be desirable to fragment equal opportunities legislation in this way by focusing out and removing the prohibition in terms of higher education.

Perhaps I may respond to the question of the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish. I understand that it would be perfectly competent for a Scottish parliament to decide to act on student fees in the way that the noble Lord wishes to bring about. Without being invited to get into the details of the issue that the House resolved some little time ago, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

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