EU (Withdrawal) Bill, Committee Stage day eight, House of Commons, 20 December 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert the entire body of EU law into UK law, with the intention of allowing businesses to continue operating and providing fairness to individuals, knowing the rules have not changed when the UK leaves the EU. This legal certainty must be given to councils too.


Key messages

  • The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert the entire body of EU law into UK law, with the intention of allowing businesses to continue operating and providing fairness to individuals, knowing the rules have not changed when the UK leaves the EU. This legal certainty must be given to councils too.
  • EU laws impact many of the council services that affect people's day-to-day lives, from protecting people from unsafe food when they eat out to regulating how councils buy goods and services. The conversion of EU law will therefore have an impact on our most important public services. • Currently local government has a formal advisory role in the EU law and policy-making process through its membership of the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR). Formally involving local government in law-making has ensured that EU laws are improved by consulting those at the frontline of delivery.
  • The Prime Minister made a commitment that the same rules will apply on the day after exit as on the day before. Therefore, a replacement of this formal advisory role is needed so that local government can continue our role in good law-making in the UK once we leave the EU and to ensure no deficiency in local government powers. To be clear, it is the rights and responsibilities local government currently have that need to be replicated, not the institution of the CoR itself.
  • The LGA, together with the local government associations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – have been in discussion with the UK Government about how this advisory role might be replicated in UK law. Our shared ambition is to replicate the advisory role of local government in the UK post-exit, without creating new bureaucracies. We wish to continue our constructive discussions with the Government. Parliament should be advised on progress and we would encourage the Government to update Parliament on progress at Report Stage of the Bill.
  • Former EU powers will start to be reviewed after the Bill is passed. Brexit should not simply mean a transfer of powers from Brussels to Westminster, Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff Bay. It must lead to new legislative freedoms and flexibilities for councils so that residents and businesses benefit. Taking decisions over how to run local services closer to where people live is key to improving them and saving money.

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EU (Withdrawal) Bill, Committee Stage day eight, House of Commons, 20 December 2017