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Chamber and committees

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

Meeting date: Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Agenda: Decision on Taking Business in Private, European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018: Instrument Procedure and Category, Instruments subject to Made Affirmative Procedure, Instruments subject to Affirmative Procedure, Instruments subject to Negative Procedure


Contents


Instruments subject to Negative Procedure


Low Emission Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/26)

The Convener

Issues have been raised on two of the instruments for consideration under agenda item 5. A cross-referencing error has been identified in regulation 5 of SSI 2021/26. Regulation 5 refers to a local authority making a low-emission zone scheme under section 6 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, but it is section 9 of the 2019 act that gives local authorities the power to make or modify a low-emission zone scheme.

While noting that the Scottish Government has undertaken to amend the error by way of a correction slip, does the committee wish to draw the instrument to the attention of the Parliament on the general reporting ground, on the basis that there is a cross-referencing error in regulation 5?

No member has indicated that they are not content or that they wish to speak, so that is agreed.


Education (Fees and Student Support) (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/28)

The Convener

A number of issues have been raised on SSI 2021/28. The related correspondence between the committee and the Scottish Government is listed in full in paper 4 of the committee’s published papers.

In its response, the Scottish Government highlighted that it previously made a commitment to consolidate and update the various instruments that regulate student fees and student support in the higher education sector in Scotland, with a view to ensuring greater clarity and consistency. The Scottish Government added that that has been delayed for reasons connected with the Covid-19 pandemic, but that it remains committed to doing so at the earliest opportunity.

Before I move on to the specific errors, does the committee wish to note that commitment but, given that it is a commitment that was made previously, does it also wish to call on the Scottish Government to prioritise the matter?

No member has indicated that they are not content or that they wish to speak, so that is agreed.

The Scottish Government has committed to correcting a number of the specific errors, namely: the cross-referencing error in regulation 3(b), which is discussed in response to question 2 in the related correspondence in paper 4 of today’s papers; the fact that a definition of “residence scheme immigration rules” is missing, which is discussed in response to question 4; the cross-referencing error in regulations 11(a), 11(b) and 13(h), which was raised in question 5; the references to “EU national”, which should be to “EC national”, as identified in question 6; and the cross-referencing error in regulation 25(f), which was raised in question 8.

Does the committee wish to draw the instrument to the attention of the Parliament on the general reporting ground in respect of those errors, and to welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to correct them at the earliest opportunity?

No member has indicated that they are not content or that they wish to speak, so that is agreed.

Further issues were identified, in relation to which the Scottish Government did not consider that corrective action was necessary. Those issues can be found under questions 3, 7 and 10 of paper 4.

Questions 3 and 7 concern whether, in the absence of the word “and” in a list of requirements, it is sufficiently clear that the requirements are cumulative. The committee notes the Scottish Government’s explanation that the absence of a conjunction is in line with modern drafting style, but the committee considers that, in this case, the use of a conjunction would be preferable for consistency, and therefore clarity, because conjunctions are used in the existing paragraphs of the schedules and in other amendments that the instrument makes to those schedules.

In relation to question 10, the Scottish Government recognised that it might have been clearer for consistency if the paragraphs that the instrument inserts into the relevant schedule adopted the same introductory wording as the other paragraphs in that schedule.

Taking a proportionate approach, given that the Scottish Government is in any event taking action to address the other issues, the committee invites the Scottish Government to address those three issues at the same time. The issues will be listed in full in the committee’s report.

Does the committee also wish to draw the instrument to the attention of the Parliament on the general reporting ground in respect of those additional issues, and to call on the Scottish Government to address them at the same time as making the other corrections?

No member has indicated that they are not content or that they wish to speak, so that is agreed.


Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 (Consequential, Saving and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/44)

The Convener

No points have been raised in relation to SSI 2021/44, but the committee notes that the instrument fulfils undertakings that the Scottish Government gave in 2019 to correct drafting errors that the committee identified in its report on subordinate legislation dated 5 March 2019, which had been highlighted in the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 (Commencement and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2019 (SSI 2019/247) and in the Felling (Scotland) Regulations 2019 (SSI 2019/49).

No points have been raised on the following negative instruments.


Legal Aid and Advice and Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/56)

The Convener

Is the committee content with the instruments?

No member has indicated that they are not content or that they wish to speak, so that is agreed.

11:59 Meeting continued in private until 12:13.