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Written Statement: The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks


The European Union (Withdrawal) Act requires the UK Government to report to Parliament periodically on matters relating to Common Frameworks and the use if any made by the UK Government of powers under section 12 of the Act (the so-called ‘freezing powers’) temporarily to maintain existing EU law limits on devolved competence.

I am notifying Members that the eighth such report was laid in Parliament on 24 September, covering the period 26 March – 25 June 2020. Whereas the report outlines continued positive work on the Common Frameworks, and confirms that the UK Government has not used the ‘freezing powers’, it does not reflect our deep concern about the impact of the UK Government’s Internal Market legislation. As I have made clear to the Senedd in recent weeks, not only is this a heavy-handed piece of legislation which severely undermines three years of collaboration via the Common Frameworks programme; it also proposes that UK ministers be able to fund projects and infrastructure, covering almost all devolved areas and which go far wider than the areas currently covered by EU Structural Funds – without the involvement of Welsh Ministers. This is a serious assault on the devolution settlement and our powers in Wales.

I have written to Chloe Smith, Minister of State for Constitution and Devolution, expressing my disappointment that our views on the Internal Market legislation were not reflected in the report, but noting the commitment to covering the issue in a later edition.

The report can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919783/Eighth_EUWA_and_Common_Frameworks_Report.pdf

The third Annual Frameworks Analysis document, which sets out the latest policy positions on whether a framework policy area will be implemented through a non-legislative mechanism, is linked to forthcoming legislation or is not in need of further action, was published at the same time. The Analysis document can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919729/Frameworks-Analysis-2020.pdf



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