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Chamber and committees

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Agenda: Instruments subject to Affirmative Procedure, Instruments subject to Negative Procedure, Instruments not subject to Parliamentary Procedure, Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1


Contents


Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

The Convener

Agenda item 4 is consideration of the delegated powers in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill. The bill’s purpose is to set four statutory income targets that will contribute to the eradication of child poverty, and it confers on Scottish ministers one power to make subordinate legislation. Section 3(2) provides that Scottish ministers may, by regulations, change the base date mentioned for the time being in section 3(1) for measuring the absolute poverty target. The current base date in section 3(1) is 1 April 2010, and section 3(3) provides that the power in section 3(2) is subject to the negative procedure.

Does the committee agree to ask the following questions in relation to the power? First, section 3(2) provides that Scottish ministers may, by regulations, change the base date mentioned for the time being in section 3(1)—currently the financial year beginning 1 April 2010—for the absolute poverty target. Does the committee agree to ask why, instead of setting out that regulation-making power, section 3 cannot say that the 1 April 2010 baseline date applies until 31 March 2020 and thereafter will change automatically to 1 April 2020 for the 10-year period that leads to the target date of 1 April 2030?

Secondly, section 3(3) provides that the power to make regulations in section 3(2) is subject to the negative procedure. The delegated powers memorandum indicates that the current baseline date of 1 April 2010 is set

“to allow a ten-year”

period for

“comparison between the base year and the 2020 target year which was originally set out in the”

United Kingdom

“Child Poverty Act 2010.”

The memorandum also explains that it is likely that the future baseline date

“will need to be changed to 2020”

to reflect the move towards a target date in 2030, and it indicates that the Scottish Government’s intention is that the regulation-making power would be exercised only once.

In light of the stated intention that the power to make regulations would be used as a consequence of a 10-year comparison of equivalised net household incomes, does the committee agree to ask whether it would be more appropriate, if a power to make regulations were to be necessary, for it to be subject to the affirmative procedure rather than the negative procedure, to ensure that the Parliament could exercise an enhanced level of control over the setting of the baseline date for absolute poverty?

Members indicated agreement.

Many thanks.