Finance and Constitution Committee

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The Finance and Constitution Committee looks at budget, public expenditure and revenue matters as well as constitutional matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations.

Background work on Common Frameworks

The Finance and Constitution Committee considered the legislative consent memorandum (LCM) lodged by the Scottish Government on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.  Its interim report published on the LCM highlighted the importance of common frameworks.

Following the publication of the interim report, the Committee undertook an inquiry on common frameworks.  Following its call for evidence, the Committee held a round-table evidence session  with organisations and individuals who had submitted written evidence. The Committee published its report on common frameworks in March 2019 and received responses from the UK and Scottish Governments commenting on the recommendations made in the report.

The Committee’s report was debated in the Scottish Parliament in September 2019.

Date Action
9 January 2020 The Committee announced it had launched a new inquiry into how the UK internal market might operate post-Brexit.

The Convener of the Committee said “One of the principles of ‘common frameworks’ is that they will enable the functioning of a UK internal market post-Brexit, whilst acknowledging policy differences between the respective governments.

Post-Brexit, common frameworks are proposed in some policy areas to provide common policy and regulatory approaches between the UK and Devolved Governments.

As the UK has been part of the European Union internal market, it hasn’t had to consider how a UK internal market might operate. Our committee has therefore launched an inquiry into this important subject.”

21 October 2019 The Committee took evidence by video conference from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP who responded to questions on common frameworks, including whether revisions to the withdrawal agreement or the political declaration would make any changes to the way in which common frameworks would be negotiated and agreed.
29 August 2019 The Committee held an informal away day on 28 August 2019 where it held discussions with Scottish and UK Government officials on a number of topics, including common frameworks.
24 September 2019 The Committee’s report on common frameworks was debated in the Scottish Parliament.
4 July 2019 The Committee received correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, drawing its attention to the common framework outline published by the Cabinet Office on 3 July.

The letter was also sent to the Conveners of the Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Affairs Committee and the Local Government and Communities Committee.

3 July 2019 The Committee received correspondence from the Cabinet Office providing an update on progress made on common frameworks.

The correspondence included an example of how common frameworks were being developed. The draft outline framework was in the policy area of Hazardous Substances (Planning).

19 June 2019 The Committee heard evidence on the internal market from academics from the University of Strathclyde; University of Aberdeen; Queen’s University Belfast; University of Liverpool; and University of Stirling.  The question of the internal market arose during the Committee’s inquiry into common frameworks.
3 June 2019 Following its interim response in April 2019, the Scottish Government provided its response to the recommendations and conclusions outlined in the Committee report.  The Government grouped its responses into themes including:

-agreeing common frameworks by negotiation and consent;

-parliamentary scrutiny, and

-environmental principles

15 May 2019 The Committee heard from the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation as it considered Trade Negotiations. The Minister was asked what were the main issues that needed to be addressed in common frameworks to facilitate future trade deals and agreements.
7 May 2019 The UK Government provided a response to the recommendations in the Committee’s report on common frameworks in the areas of:

-trade agreements, international treaties and obligations;

-intergovernmental relations;

-policy areas subject to common frameworks, and

-governance arrangements

2 May 2019 The Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer  (on behalf of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body) wrote to the Convener of the Finance and Constitution Committee following the publication of their March report. The response focused on the “potential resource implications of the Parliament’s scrutiny of complex frameworks” as identified in the report.
25 April 2019 The Scottish Government provided an interim response to the Committee’s report.
25 March 2019 The Committee’s report on common frameworks was published.  The report set out the Committee’s initial findings and recommendations based on the work of the inquiry.
20 March 2019 The Committee met in private to agree its report on common frameworks.
27 February 2019 The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations appeared before the Committee to give evidence on UK common frameworks.
24 October 2018 The Committee held a round-table evidence session to build on the evidence that had already been received in response to its inquiry on common frameworks.
26 September 2018 The Committee discussed its fact-finding visit to Brussels in September 2019.  During the visit, the Committee explored how common frameworks operate in other countries with particular reference to trade negotiations.
12 September 2018 The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations appeared before the Committee and provided an update on progress being made in common framework discussions.
6 September 2018 The Committee took evidence on the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 from the Secretary of State for Scotland who described the progress made on UK common frameworks.
5 September 2018 During discussions on the UK Government Trade Bill, the Committee took evidence on common frameworks and received an update from the deputy director of policy at the Scotland Office on how common framework negotiations had been developing.
18 June 2018 The Committee undertook an inquiry on common frameworks.  In June 2018 the Committee announced its call for evidence on common frameworks.  The Committee identified a number of areas that required further detailed examination, these included:

-what should replace the current EU policy-making processes across the UK;

-addressing the governance gap in relation to the monitoring, implementation and enforcement of frameworks;

-the interaction between frameworks and the negotiation of new international agreements including free trade deals, and

-the funding of obligations and commitments arising from frameworks.

23 May 2018 The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe wrote to the Committee.  The correspondence included a link to the UK Government’s framework analysis and a breakdown of areas of EU law that intersected with devolved competence in Scotland.
4 May 2018 The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe wrote to the Committee updating it on the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee [JMC (EN)] on 2 May 2018, during which discussions on common frameworks took place.
3 May 2018 The Committee continued its consideration on the supplementary legislative consent memorandum on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.  The Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister for the Constitution attended the meeting.  The Secretary of State was asked whether common frameworks would be imposed.
2 May 2018 The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe attended the Committee meeting as it took evidence on the supplementary LCM lodged by the Scottish Government on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

The supplementary LCM included a draft proposed intergovernmental agreement on the bill and the establishment of common frameworks.

2 May 2018 The Secretary of State for Scotland wrote to the Committee ahead of his appearance at the Committee on 3 May 2018 providing an update on discussions around common frameworks.
26 March 2018 The First Minister wrote to the Committee following a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee in March 2018. The correspondence included a joint letter signed by the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales noting they had asked the UK Government not to bring forward legislation in England in areas where common frameworks may be established.
13 March 2018 The Secretary of State for Scotland wrote to the Committee on common framework analysis.
31 January 2018 The Committee heard from academics and the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe as it discussed the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and common frameworks.
9 January 2018 The Committee published the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill LCM – Interim Report which highlighted the importance of common frameworks.  The report recognised that “significant further work is required in relation to the scrutiny of developing and agreeing common frameworks” and that “as this is a critically important area of work” the Committee agreed to consider it further.
14 December 2017 The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe wrote to the Committee updating it on the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations, noting that progress had been made on the question of UK-wide frameworks.
29 November 2017 The Committee was joined by the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, as it continued its consideration of the LCM on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.  The Minister was asked to help the committee to understand his thinking on how common frameworks would be constructed, policed and enforced.
27 November 2017 The Secretary of State for Scotland and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the EU wrote to the Committee following their evidence session on 8 November, responding to the Committee’s request for further information on where common frameworks may or may not be needed.
15 November 2017 The Committee took evidence as part of its consideration of the LCM on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Witnesses were questioned on common frameworks that may or may not be required as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
8 November 2017 The Committee questioned two UK Government Ministers on the legislative consent memorandum on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.  The Ministers responded to several questions on common frameworks and discussed where they may or may not be required.
1 November 2017 As part of its consideration of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, the Committee heard from academics who responded to a number of questions on common frameworks that may be required as powers return from the EU to the UK.
25 October 2017 The Committee held a round-table evidence-taking session on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. One of the topics discussed was common frameworks.
17 October 2017 The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe wrote to the Committee to inform it of the Scottish Government’s actions at the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee in October at which the principles to underpin work on common frameworks were agreed.
4 October 2017 The Committee took evidence via video conference from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government in the Welsh Government who was asked for details on common frameworks that may be required.
22 September 2017 The Committee wrote to Lord Boswell of Aynho detailing the work of the Committee on whether there is a need to establish common frameworks in areas including the environment and agriculture.
20 September 2017 The Committee considered the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.  Appearing before the Committee, the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe responded to a number of questions on common frameworks.
19 September 2017 The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe sent a letter to the Committee noting the Scottish Government recognised that there may be the need for frameworks in the future but they would only agree to common frameworks that respected the devolution settlement.
1 September 2017 The Committee received a response to its letter sent to the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe which set out the Government’s position on common frameworks.
10 August 2017 The Committee wrote to the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe seeking information on legislative consent in relation to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.  The letter requested further information on the Government’s approach regarding the powers which were competences of the EU, the implications for the devolution settlement in Scotland and whether common frameworks may be required.
14 June 2017 The Committee held an evidence session with academics from the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde, discussing the implications for the devolution settlement of  UK common frameworks.