Motion to Consider
That the Grand Committee do consider the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2014.
Relevant document: 9th Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments
My Lords, in moving that the draft order laid before the House on 13 October 2014 be considered, I intend to provide the Committee with a brief summary of what the order seeks to achieve. The order is made under Section 104 of the Scotland Act 1998, which allows for necessary or expedient changes to UK legislation in consequence of an Act of the Scottish Parliament. The order is made in consequence of the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014, which for convenience I shall refer to as the 2014 Act.
The 2014 Act establishes Revenue Scotland as the tax authority with responsibility for devolved taxes and puts in place a framework that provides for a range of administrative functions that will apply to devolved taxes. That framework includes: the powers and duties of Revenue Scotland; the rights and obligations of Scottish taxpayers; how tax disputes will be handled; details of time limits, penalties and sanctions; the treatment of taxpayer information; and, provisions relating to tax avoidance. The 2014 Act also makes provision for Revenue Scotland to delegate some or all of its powers to Registers of Scotland in relation to land and buildings transaction tax, and to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in relation to the Scottish landfill tax.
The order will give the 2014 Act full effect. It will establish Revenue Scotland as a part of the Scottish Administration in order that it will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament but independent of the Scottish Government. In order to tackle tax avoidance successfully, the order will make provision in relation to information sharing between Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Revenue Scotland. Of course, any information that Revenue Scotland receives from HMRC will be treated as confidential protected taxpayer information, as provided for by Section 15 of the 2014 Act.
The order will also add Revenue Scotland and Registers of Scotland as prescribed persons to the schedule to the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 whilst adding “Scottish landfill tax” to the specified matters in respect of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to ensure the same protection for whistleblowers who assist those bodies, under the Employment Rights Act 1996, as that afforded to whistleblowers who contact HMRC.
Additionally, this order will insert a reference to Revenue Scotland into the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 to disqualify members of Revenue Scotland from being Members of the House of Commons.
Yet again a Section 104 order demonstrates this Government’s continued commitment to working with the Scottish Government to make the devolution settlement work. I commend the order to the Committee. I beg to move.
My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for his explanation and I thank his staff for making sure that I was briefed. I was indeed fully briefed, given the number of items that came my way, but they were all welcome—that is part of transparency.
I have nothing really to add to the clear explanation that the Minister has given other than to comment that this order demonstrates yet again how the 1998 devolution Act is working at a steady pace and with a common-sense approach, with things being devolved or retained as it makes sense to do so. The order also indicates a level of co-operation from the Scottish Parliament that its Members would perhaps do well to publicise more—there is not the friction or arguments every day of the week as might be suggested by some of the SNP people there. There is sensible co-operation, as the Minister has outlined, and this order has our full support.