The Scottish Government introduced the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (referred to as ‘the Bill’) on 18 June 2020. The Scottish Government explains that the purpose of the Bill is to:
- a. enable the Scottish Ministers to make provision in secondary legislation to allow Scots law to be able to ‘keep pace’ with EU law in devolved areas, where appropriate;
- b. ensure that there continue to be guiding principles on the environment in Scotland;
- c. establish an environmental governance body, Environmental Standards Scotland;
- d. continue the role and functions of the European institutions in ensuring the complete and effective implementation of environmental law.
The Finance and Constitution Committee (FCC) is the lead Committee for considering this Bill and will focus on the constitutional aspects of the Bill. The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLRC) is a secondary committee and will focus on the environmental policy aspects of the Bill. The FCC would welcome your views on the questions below (ECCLR’s call for views is available on its own web pages) –
- What are the implications of the keeping pace power in the Bill potentially leading to substantial policy divergence with the rest of the UK following the end of the transitional period?
- What are your views on the proposals within the Bill for the Scottish Government to voluntarily maintain regulatory alignment with EU law in devolved areas using secondary rather than primary legislation?
- What are the implications of the UK and devolved governments no longer having a formal role in influencing the EU policy making process on the keeping pace proposals within the Bill?
- The policy memorandum states that “the Scottish Government considers it necessary to give Scottish Ministers the power to ensure that Scotland’s laws may keep pace with changes to EU law, where appropriate and practicable.” The Committee would welcome your views on how wide-ranging this power is likely to be given the following statutory and non-statutory constraints –
Compliance with UK international obligations including future trade deals and other international agreements;
Statutory and non-statutory common frameworks;
The functioning of a UK internal market;
The replacement of EU funding.
- Are there any other constraints which may affect the Scottish Ministers’ ability to use the keeping pace power in the ways envisaged?
- The current power which Scottish Ministers have to implement EU law under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 will not be available after 31 December 2020. How does the proposed keeping pace power in the Bill compare with the current arrangements for implementing EU law?
- Is there a need for clearly defined criteria to apply to assessing whether or not to replicate any particular EU law into domestic law and, if so, should this be set out in more detail on the face of the Bill?
- Are the arrangements for scrutiny by the Parliament of subordinate legislation made under the keeping pace power adequate?
- Does the Financial Memorandum reflect all of the costs of implementing the Bill?
The call for views will be open until Friday 7 August 2020.
Call for views received here.
How to submit your views
The Scottish Parliament and its Committees value diversity and seek to work towards committee witnesses being broadly representative of Scotland’s society. As such we encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence If you need advice, please contact the Clerks on the email address: [email protected]
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We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to accept hard copy submissions on this occasion.
Finance and Constitution Committee
The Scottish Parliament
0131 348 5215