UK internal market needs mutual trust and respect between governments, says Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee

14.08.2020

The post-Brexit UK internal market needs mutual trust and respect between governments, says Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee.

In its response to the UK Government’s White Paper consultation, the committee tells the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that an internal market must, as a minimum, be based on inclusive dialogue with the devolved governments, Parliaments and wider public.

More substantively, the committee says in its letter, the legal design of an internal market involves choices, balances and trade-offs that demand detailed consideration, and must not be imposed.

Finance and Constitution Committee Convener Bruce Crawford MSP said:

“The Committee’s view is that there is an onus on all four governments and legislatures across the UK to work constructively together to seek a solution to this complex and challenging issue. 

“This must be achieved through mutual trust and respect for the existing constitutional arrangements within the UK. 

“In particular - as this Committee has emphasised on numerous occasions - the UK Government, post-Brexit, must respect the devolution settlement.   There must be a transparent and inclusive public debate on the white paper proposals which allows all interested parties and the wider public to contribute. 

“The significance of the proposals for all citizens across the UK means that the solution cannot be left to the UK Government to decide. 

“A consensus needs to be achieved and this requires a much longer, inclusive and more detailed debate than what is currently being proposed.”

 

Background

The committee’s letter says it is “deeply regrettable” that the proposals within the white paper were published by the UK Government during the Scottish Parliament’s recess period and that the consultation lasted only four weeks. 

The Committee says it is providing initial views on the white paper but intends to carry out further work in this “hugely important” area once the legislation is introduced to the UK Parliament.

The Committee invites the Secretary of State to respond to its initial views and to give a commitment to giving evidence by video conference to discuss the UK Government’s position.

The Conservative members of the committee did not support the consultation response. 

Find the committee’s full response to the White Paper consultation here: 

https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/113300.aspx

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