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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure until 8.35 p.m.

Moved accordingly, and on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 8.30 to 8.35 p.m.]

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Scotland Bill

House again in Committee.

Clause 74 [Effect of tax reduction for Scottish taxpayers]:

[Amendments Nos. 287 and 287A not moved.]

Clause 74 agreed to.

Clause 75 [Supplemental powers to modify enactments]:

[Amendments Nos. 287B to 287D not moved.]

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 287E:

Page 36, line 36, leave out from ("Act") to ("and") in line 37.

The noble and learned Lord said: This is a technical amendment. The drafting of the Bill generally is such that references to an enactment do not include the Bill itself or enactments made under it unless specific reference to the contrary is made. In Clause 75 the context is such that this general approach applies and so the words being deleted by the amendment are superfluous. It follows that the amendment makes no difference to the effect of the provision. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 75, as amended, agreed to.

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 287F:

After Clause 75, insert the following new clause--

Reimbursement of expenses

(". The Scottish Ministers may reimburse any Minister of the Crown or government department for administrative expenses incurred by virtue of this Part at any time after the passing of this Act by the Minister or department.").

The noble and learned Lord said: This again is essentially a technical amendment. Its purpose is to ensure that all expenses incurred by the United Kingdom departments in connection with the Scottish tax-varying power can be reimbursed to those departments by means of payment out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

As the Bill is currently drafted, this method of reimbursement would not be possible in respect of certain expenses which will be incurred regardless of whether or not the tax power is actually used. In effect, the standing charges involved in having the infrastructure in place to allow the power to be used is what we are talking about. This is an anomaly and Amendment No. 287F corrects it. It does so by giving Scottish ministers a specific power to reimburse the administrative expenses. That in turn brings those expenses within the ambit of Clause 62 and allows them to be reimbursed out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund. I beg to move.

The Earl of Balfour: In the wording of the amendment after Clause 75, does "by virtue of this Part" refer to Part IV, the tax-varying power, or to Part V, miscellaneous and general?

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: When the amendment was published at least three months ago, I wondered about the scale of reimbursement. How many pence

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would be taken up reimbursing the UK Government? I hope that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate will assist me by explaining the scale of reimbursement, and whether there will be any money left from a tax variation in that regard.

Lord Hardie: I deal first with the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Balfour. The issue relates to Part IV of the Bill. In relation to the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, I am unable to give precise figures. However, I assure him that not all the money will be used up. It is contemplated that certain mechanisms must be put in place and maintained in order to enable the Scottish parliament to exercise its tax raising power. These mechanisms involve some UK government departments, specifically the Inland Revenue and the Department of Social Security. They have incurred some set-up and continuing maintenance costs, so we are talking about those costs.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 76 [Remuneration of members of the Parliament and Executive]:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 287G:

Page 36, line 42, at beginning insert ("In accordance with the provisions of this section,").

The noble Lord said: We turn to the salary and remuneration of MSPs and members of the Scottish executive. The amendments in my name ensure that the salaries and expenses of MSPs shall not be greater than those of Members of the other place. I know that the group set up by the Secretary of State and chaired by Mr. Henry McLeish is looking at these issues and perhaps the Minister will be telling us about that.

In future, I, like all my fellow Scots, will be represented--I do not know whether in my case that is the right word as I live in the Glasgow constituency of Govan--not by one Westminster MP but by two doing the work of the existing one; or, depending which way you look at it, the work the other one is not doing! One could reasonably argue, therefore, that neither should be paid as much as existing Westminster MPs, but I shall not do so. I believe that status and not workload should determine these matters.

I am prepared to consider equal pay between the two groups of representatives. As regards expenses, especially those involved in setting up and maintaining an office, I suspect that MSPs could be paid at a slightly lower rate than MPs. But I shall not argue that either. I am going to argue that both now and in the future members of the Scottish parliament should not be paid more in salary or expenses than Westminster MPs. I am, so to speak, capping the potential salary and expenses of MSPs.

I am also placing a ceiling on the salaries of members of the executive and I believe that it is a generous ceiling. The ceiling I am applying to the First Minister should be the salary paid to a Cabinet Minister in the Government of the UK. In other words, I do not care how much less he is paid, but he must not be paid more than a Cabinet Minister in the Government of the United Kingdom. The

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ceiling for the other Scottish ministers should be that of Ministers of State in the Government of the United Kingdom.

These are simple amendments and perhaps address some of the Government's thinking. But they might like to remember that their thinking today will not necessarily hold forever. I believe that we should consider our legislation more in that regard. Therefore, we might consider including a ceiling which at least ensures that MSPs will not vote themselves higher salaries and greater expenses than those obtaining at Westminster, and that the executive members, the ministers in the Scottish executive, will not do similar in comparison with Ministers of the United Kingdom Government. I beg to move.

8.45 p.m.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: My Amendment No. 288A is grouped with this amendment so I shall speak to it briefly. It has the purpose of ensuring that parliamentary salaries, allowances and expenses are not only published but published in a specific journal. Earlier the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, told me that probably one of the least read magazines is the Edinburgh Gazette. If the amendment is adopted its circulation might increase.

It will be important for the credibility of the parliament that easily distorted information of this nature can be made available to the public whenever there are any changes. It is important that anyone wishing to identify these rates of pay and allowances will know where authoritative information can be found.

The Earl of Balfour: I support the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie. In many previous Bills that I have followed through this House it has been common practice to have information issued in the London and Edinburgh Gazette. A similar feature should be considered by the Government.

Perhaps I may take this opportunity to speak to my Amendment No. 288 in which, once again, I ask that the Secretary of State at the earliest stage should decide on the maximum payment of salaries or allowances to members of the Scottish parliament.

Lord Gray of Contin: It is most unusual for me not to be in full agreement with my noble friend Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, but on this issue I do not agree with him. In setting up the Scottish parliament, one of our objects is that it should be a unit able to take decisions on its own behalf. While certain decisions should be retained at Westminster, I believe that in this respect we should leave the Scottish parliament to use its own initiative.

I take the view, which differs from that of my noble friend, that there will be considerable restraints upon the Scottish parliament preventing it from abusing a privilege of this kind. The principle of those restraints will be that it will play right into the hands of the nationalists if whatever is decided at Scottish parliamentary level has already been virtually set out at Westminster. Immediately the nationalists will say,"We must hold our particular remuneration for this, that and the other thing to what Westminster suggests". In my view, that would be a great mistake.

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I am afraid that on this occasion I do not agree with my noble friend. I believe that whatever is paid should be left to the new Scottish parliament, in the belief that it will use its discretion appropriately.

Lord Steel of Aikwood: I am happy to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Gray of Contin. Perhaps I should declare an interest as I hope to be a member of the Scottish parliament. I do not have the foggiest idea of what the salary will be and the matter has not greatly motivated me, but I entirely agree with him in principle.

The trouble is that every time the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, sees a clause he wants to put a collar and chain on it and hand it to the UK Government, saying, "You must not allow the Scottish parliament to do this, that and the next thing". That is the principle on which he operates every single time, whether on taxation, salaries, or whatever. The noble Lord, Lord Gray, is right in saying that we should trust the parliamentarians of Scotland to get the salary levels right and that, if they get it wrong, retribution will be at the hands of the electorate.

I cannot understand why the Conservative Party always tries to put a ball and chain on every aspect of the work of the Scottish parliament. This amendment is a piece of nonsense and I hope the Government will reject it.

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