HC Deb 14 April 1976 vol 909 cc1373-5
37. Mr. Rifkind

asked the Lord Advocate what steps he has taken towards the implementation of the recommendations by the Committee chaired by the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) with regard to the preparation and drafting of Scottish legislation.

The Lord Advocate

The recommendations in relation to Scottish legislation of the Committee chaired by the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) are borne in mind by the Scottish parliamentary draftsmen—for whom I am responsible—and wherever possible the draftsmen put them into practice. To implement some of the recommendations—for example, Nos. 37, 38 89 and 90—would require new parliamentary procedures, and this is being considered by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council.

Mr. Rifkind

Can the Lord Advocate indicate the extent to which the Scottish parliamentary draftsmen have found it possible to implement the recommendations of the Renton Committee? Will these recommendations be just as relevant after the establishment of a Scottish Assembly, given the continuing need for separate Scottish legislation?

The Lord Advocate

Perhaps I might give a recent example from the Rating (Caravan Sites) Bill which received the Royal Assent yesterday. In Recommendation No. 33, the Renton Committee recommended that, instead of having complicated Scottish substitutions for mainly English provisions, there should be a separate Scottish part of the Bill so that the provisions could be set out complete and entire for Scotland. That was done in that legislation. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will welcome it.

Mr. Fairbairn

I welcome the example in that small Act, but does the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate that there is great concern about attempts to translate into Scottish terms what are unequivalent English terms? Does he agree that such translations are manifest throughout the Development Land Tax Bill and other legislation? Does he accept that the position is thoroughly unsatisfactory and that it compromises the law of Scotland?

The Lord Advocate

The hon. and learned Gentleman has made a rather brash and sweeping statement. If there are that many difficulties, perhaps he will write to me about them. I am sure that he will understand that in fiscal legislation particularly difficulties are created by the fact that we want to achieve the same result in Scotland and England for taxpayers.