MIL-OSI UK: Lords examines EU Exit regulations

Source: British House Of Lords News

21 January 2019
The House of Lords examines 10 statutory instruments preparing for Brexit on Tuesday 22 January.

A statutory instrument (SI), a type of secondary legislation, is a law created under powers given by an Act of Parliament. It is used to fill in the details of Acts (primary legislation). 
The SIs examined on Tuesday 22 January are all made under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and are changes to the law to be made in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
The proposed SIs make changes to laws on:
financial services, funds and investments
safety standards for protection from ionising radiation
shipments of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel
nuclear safeguards
invasive non-native species
floods and water
All these SIs are made under the draft affirmative procedure, meaning they need to be approved by Parliament before they can be made (signed into law) and brought into effect as law. Draft affirmative SIs can be stopped if either House votes against the government’s motion calling for the SI to be approved.
Lords scrutiny
The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) examines every SI, including all EU Exit SIs. It publishes reports drawing members’ attention to SIs.
SLSC Sub-Committee B reported on both SIs making changes to laws on nuclear safeguards:
Further information
Image: House of Lords 2019 / Photography by Roger Harris

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Former HS2 Chairman and Transport Minister questioned by Committee

Source: British House Of Lords News

21 January 2019
The Economic Affairs Committee follows up on its inquiry, The Economic Case for HS2, in a one-off session with Sir Terry Morgan, recently resigned Chairman of HS2 and Crossrail, and Nusrat Ghani MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport.

Witnesses
Tuesday 22 January in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster
At 3.35pm
Sir Terry Morgan CBE, Former Chairman, High Speed 2 and Crossrail
At 4.30pm
Nusrat Ghani MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport
Clive Maxwell, Director-General, High Speed and Major Rail Projects Group, Department for Transport
Dr Nick Bisson, Director, HS2 Phase 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Department for Transport
Likely questions
Can HS2 be delivered within the £56 billion budget?
Will the speed be lowered and the number of trains an hour reduced to ensure the project is finished in time and on budget
Would a London terminus at Old Oak Common rather than Euston really save £8 billion on the cost of HS2?
Is the recent reduction in the growth in demand for long-distance rail travel a concern for the business case for HS2?
Is it right that HS2 is being prioritised over improvements to local and regional services in the north of England?
Does it undermine the case for the project’s objective to rebalance the economy that the main beneficiaries of overcrowding relief on the West Coast Main Line will be London commuters?
Further information
Image: PA

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Home Secretary questioned again about citizens’ rights after Brexit

Source: British House Of Lords News

21 January 2019
As part of their follow-up work on citizens’ rights after Brexit, the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee again hears from the Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, and Mr Glyn Williams, Director-General of Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System Policy and Strategy Group, Home Office.

Witnesses
Tuesday 22 January in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster
At 2.30pm
The Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Home Secretary
Mr Glyn Williams, Director-General of Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System Policy and Strategy Group, Home Office
Background
Home Secretary Sajid Javid is being questioned by members of the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee on Tuesday 22 January in a follow-up session on citizens’ rights post-Brexit.  The Home Secretary gave evidence to the Committee on 21 June 2018 where assurances were given about the UK having a welcoming attitude to EU citizens who live in the UK, and that lessons were being learned from the Windrush scandal.  
This follow-up session will focus on advertising and promotional materials for settled status, process, documentation and trials, eligibility criteria, reciprocal arrangements and no deal preparations. 
Further information

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Work of the National Security Adviser examined

Source: British Parliament News

21 January 2019
The oral evidence session on the Work of the National Security Adviser due to take place on 21 January has been re-scheduled. The session will now take place on Monday 28 January at 4.15pm in Committee Room 4A.

Witness
The Committee will take evidence from Sir Mark Sedwill, National Security Adviser, at 4.15pm in Committee room 8 on Monday 28 January.
Purpose of the session
Likely topics for discussion include:
changing threats to UK national security
the outcomes of the National Security Capability Review and Modernising Defence Programme
countering hostile state activity.
Further information
Image: Home Office

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay MP questioned on Brexit

Source: British Parliament News

18 January 2019
The Lords EU Committee discusses Brexit with Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP.

Witness
Wednesday 23 January in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster
At 4.00pm
Rt Hon. Stephen Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
Topics
The Committee will question the Secretary of State on Brexit, with topics including:
Possible changes to the Withdrawal Agreement that was rejected by the Commons on 15 January;
Government ‘no deal’ preparations;
UK engagement with the EU and other 27 Member States;
Government thinking on future UK-EU relations
Further information
Image: Parliamentary copyright

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Lords examines Trade Bill

Source: British Parliament News

18 January 2019
The Trade Bill begins its committee stage, the first chance for line-by-line scrutiny, in the Lords on Monday 21 January.

Members are expected to discuss the prevention of customs arrangements at borders, international trade agreements and territories forming part of a customs union with the UK
Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour) has proposed an amendment that the committee’s report is not received until the government has presented to both Houses proposals for a process for making international trade agreements once the UK is in a position to do so independently of the EU, including roles for Parliament and the devolved legislatures and administrations in relation to both a negotiating mandate and a final agreement.
If agreed to this amendment would mean that the bill would complete its committee stage in the Lords but not progress to report stage until the government’s proposals are received.
Lords second reading: Tuesday 11 September
Baroness Meyer (Conservative), made her maiden speech.
Members discussed a range of subjects covered by the bill including border arrangements in Northern Ireland, continued participation in the European medicines regulatory network and Free Trade Agreements.
Trade Bill summary
This bill aims to: 
Ensure the UK can implement any procurement obligations arising from the UK becoming a member of the Agreement of Government Procurement (GPA) in its own right.
Assist with the implementation of UK trade agreement with assisting partner countries.
Establish a new body, the Trade Remedies Authority.
Allow HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to collect information confirming the number of exporters of goods and services in the UK.
Establish a date sharing gateway between HMRC and other public and private bodies.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Committee concerned about future of Human Rights Act post-Brexit

Source: British Parliament News

18 January 2019
The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has exchanged correspondence with the Government about clarifying the wording of the Political Declaration regarding the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The EU Justice Sub-Committee wrote to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke in December in the context of its work on citizens’ rights. The Committee sought clarification about a change in wording between the draft and final versions of the Political Declaration regarding the UK’s relationship with European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The reply from Edward Argar MP, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, was received last week. The Government’s response again pledged an unchanging commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, but it did not explain the reason for the change in wording in the Political Declaration.  The letter ended with a reference to revisiting the Human Rights Act once the process of leaving the EU is concluded, and the Committee is concerned by the lack of assurances about the Government’s commitment to the Human Rights Act post-Brexit.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Retail Price Index must be fixed, says Lords Committee

Source: British Parliament News

17 January 2019
The Economic Affairs Committee publishes its report on ‘Measuring Inflation’. The report considers the future of the retail price index (RPI) and its use by the Government.

Key findings
The Committee finds that the UK Statistics Authority is at risk of being in breach of its statutory duties on the publication of statistics, by refusing to correct an error that it openly admits exists in the Retail Prices Index (RPI). This error, made in 2010 when the process for collecting price quotes for clothing was altered, has resulted in RPI being 0.3 percentage points higher since 2010. As a result, commuters and students pay more because rail fare increases and student loan interest rates are linked to RPI, and holders of index-linked gilts at the time received an unwarranted windfall. The UK Statistics Authority has a duty to “promote and safeguard the quality of official statistics”.
The Committee calls for the Authority to follow the procedure for correcting the error and, given that RPI remains in widespread use, resume a programme of regular methodological improvements. The Committee also recommends a single measure of general inflation for use by the Government. This is to prevent so-called ‘index-shopping’ by Government, where indices are chosen because of their impact on the public finances rather than their merits as measures of inflation.
Chairman’s comments
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, said:

“When the Government gives money to people it is generally opting to adjust payments for inflation using the Consumer Prices Index. But when it takes money from people, it is generally opting to use the Retail Prices Index, which has been around one per cent higher than CPI in recent years. This simply is not fair. Together with the UK Statistics Authority, it needs to agree upon a single measure of general inflation which is used for uprating purposes. In the interim the Government should desist from ‘index shopping’ by switching to CPI in all areas not governed by private contracts, including index-linked gilts. “The UK Statistics Authority’s refusal to fix the problems it admits RPI has is untenable. By continuing to publish an index which it admits is flawed, it is arguably in breach of its statutory duty to promote and safeguard official statistics. It should seek to resolve the problems with the index, consulting the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer where necessary, and stop treating it as a ‘legacy measure’ when it remains in widespread use. “This is not just a technical debate. The Authority’s error created winners and losers. For example, commuters and students pay more because rail fare increases and student loan interest rates are linked to RPI.”

Key recommendations
The main problem with RPI is an unintended consequence of a routine methodological improvement by the UK Statistics Authority to the collection of price quotes for clothing. This has widened the difference (the ‘formula effect’) in the annual rate of change in RPI compared to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). As a result of the clothing change, the ‘formula effect’ has increased from 0.5 per cent to 0.8 per cent.
The Authority’s error has created winners, such as holders of RPI-linked Government bonds, who have received around £1 billion more in interest payments every year, and losers, such as commuters and students with annual rail fare increases and the interest rate on student loans linked to RPI.
Correcting the error would require the Chancellor’s approval because it would cause “material detriment” to index-linked gilt holders. When asked, the UK Statistics Authority told us they had not asked the Chancellor because they expected he would say no. The Treasury said they could not act, because no such request had been submitted. The Committee concludes that such a request should be submitted, and the Chancellor should consent.
The gap between RPI and CPI has encouraged governments to ‘index shop’: benefits, tax thresholds and public sector and state pensions were all switched from being uprated by the higher RPI to the lower CPI in 2011.
To have credibility, a single general measure of inflation requires a satisfactory measure of owner-occupier housing costs. At present, there are critics of how the RPI and the Consumer Prices Index including owner-occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) do this. The UK Statistics Authority should agree on a best measure of owner-occupier housing costs to be used in the new single general measure.
The Committee is unconvinced that the UK Statistics Authority should consider the interests of those materially affected by changes to statistical measures in making decisions about adjustments or corrections. UKSA has a statutory duty to promote and safeguard the quality of official statistics, which it may have neglected in the case of RPI. 
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates Brexit and the Union

Source: British House Of Lords News

16 January 2019
Members of the Lords, including a constitutional advisor to the Secretary of State for Scotland and an advisory council member of national debate forum These Islands, will debate the possible effects of Brexit on the stability of the Union of the parts of the United Kingdom, in the House of Lords on Thursday 17 January.

This is a general debate. They normally take place on a Thursday in the chamber. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Lord Lisvane (Crossbench), former chief executive of the House of Commons.
Members expected to take part include:
Lord Empey (Ulster Unionist Party), former Lord Mayor of Belfast and member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town (Labour), Lords opposition spokesperson for exiting the EU and constitutional affairs
Lord Hay of Ballyore (Democratic Unionist Party), president of the Northern Ireland Assembly branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
Lord McInnes of Kilwinning (Conservative), constitutional advisor to the Secretary of State for Scotland
Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve (Crossbench), member of the advisory council for national debate forum These Islands
Lord Thomas of Gresford (Liberal Democrat), former Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Welsh Affairs
Lord Wigley (Plaid Cymru), former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly for Wales
Lord Young of Cookham (Conservative), Lords spokesperson in the Cabinet Office, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates digital techology and young people

Source: British House Of Lords News

16 January 2019
Members of the Lords, including the chair of children’s digital rights charity 5Rights and a vice president of Barnardos, will debate the relationship between the use of digital technology and the health and wellbeing of children and young people, in the House of Lords on Thursday 17 January.

This is a general debate. They normally take place on a Thursday in the chamber. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Baroness Kidron (Crossbench), chair of children’s digital rights charity 5Rights.
Members expected to take part include:
Baroness Benjamin (Liberal Democrat), broadcaster and vice president of Barnardos
Lord Griffiths of Burry Port (Labour), Lords opposition spokesperson for digital, culture, media and sport
Earl of Listowel (Crossbench), trustee of child welfare charity The Michael Sieff Foundation
Lord Lucas (Conservative), vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Digital Identity
Lord Ashton of Hyde (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News