Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad

Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee

15/03/2021

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Carwyn Jones MS
Dai Lloyd MS
David Melding MS
Mick Antoniw MS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Gareth Howells Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
P Gareth Williams Clerc
Clerk
Sarah Sargent Ail Glerc
Second Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30. 

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30. 

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introduction, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

I welcome Members to this virtual meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I've determined that the public are excluded from the meeting in order to protect public health. In accordance with Standing Order 34.21, notice of this decision was included in the published agenda for this meeting. The meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and the Record of Proceedings will be published as usual. Aside from the procedural adaptations for conducting proceedings remotely, all other Standing Order requirements remain in place. We have a full committee in attendance today. The usual housekeeping rules will apply. Are there any declarations of interest? I don't see any declarations of interest. 

2. Offerynnau nad ydynt yn cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 na 21.3
2. Instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

So, we move straight on to item 2 of the agenda, and we start with the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. This instrument amends the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Wales) Regulations 2014, which provide for certain categories of persons from abroad to be eligible or ineligible for an allocation of housing accommodation and/or for housing assistance. The amendments extend eligibility for housing and housing assistance provided by local authorities in Wales to stateless persons. There aren't any merits or technical points that have been identified. I think that's right, Gareth? Yes. So, any observations or comments from Members? Okay. So, we note that.

And we move on, then, to item 2.2, the Official Statistics (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2021, and the purpose of this order is to amend the Schedule to the Official Statistics (Wales) Order 2017 to provide that statistics produced or to be produced by Digital Health and Care Wales are official statistics for the purpose of Part 1 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. Again, I don't think there are any technical or merits points identified. Any comments or observations from Members? No. 

3. Offerynnau sy'n codi materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i'r Senedd o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
3. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

So, we move straight on, then, to item 3. We move on to the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, and Members have before them the report, the regulations, the explanatory memorandum. This instrument amends the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009, which govern the repayment of income-contingent student loans in England and Wales. The changes are consequential to changes made for repayment thresholds for students in Scotland, and the regulations have been made on a composite basis. Over to the lawyers—I think there's a merits point that's been identified. Gareth. 

There is just one point, which notes that the regulations are in English only, as they are made by both the Welsh Ministers and the Secretary of State, and they've been laid before both the Senedd and the UK Parliament. 

Okay. Are there any comments or observations? If there aren't any, then we move straight onto item 3.2, which is the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 (Consequential Amendments and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2021. These are regulations that make amendments that are consequential on amendments made by Schedule 4 to the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 to provisions in Part VA of the Local Government Act 1972, or give effect to provisions of section 47 of the 2021 Act relating to remote attendance. The regulations do also make provision relating to the length of time certain local authority documents are required to be electronically accessible under the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) Meetings (Wales) Regulations 2020, and these are regulations that we will be debating in Plenary tomorrow. Over to the lawyers. 

There is one technical point, which probes to what extent these regulations are retrospective. The Welsh Government response was received on Friday and does not agree that the regulations have retrospective effect, and I agree with the Welsh Government. There are no concerns around retrospectivity here. The regulations do not retrospectively change the law before the date the regulations come into force. And there is one merits point, which notes there's been no formal consultation, and the Government explains this is because the regulations make consequential amendments only.

09:35

Thank you. We note those comments, particularly the important points with regard to retrospectivity. Any comments or observations from Members? I don't see any.

So, we move on to item 3.3, the Education Workforce Council (Interim Suspension Orders) (Additional Functions) (Wales) Order 2021. Members have, again, the report and regulations and the explanatory memorandum. Now, as part of its role as regulator, the Education Workforce Council is required to maintain a register of all the persons registered with the council. The Education (Wales) Act 2014 requires the council to carry out investigations where it is alleged that a registered person is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, professional incompetence or it is alleged the person has been convicted of a relevant offence. This Order adds to the council's functions so that the council may, by way of an interim suspension order, suspend a registered person from the public register prior to the outcome of an investigation and disciplinary hearing. This is an Order that is also to be debated in Plenary tomorrow. There is a merits point identified. Gareth.

Yes, that merits point highlights the potential for the Education Workforce Council having to meet at very short notice to consider certain applications. An example is provided in the draft report, where the council could have to convene within one day in order to decide a particular type of application. The Government has been asked to respond.

Okay, any comments or observations? I don't see any. So, we move on to item 3.4, which is the Agricultural Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021. These regulations propose to make amendments to retained EU law and domestic law to put in place a domestic framework to fund new rural development schemes in Wales. The Senedd lawyers have, with their normal detailed work, identified a large number of points for reporting. So, on Friday, the Welsh Government withdrew these regulations and relaid a revised version, which will be considered at our next meeting. Is there anything you need to add to that, Gareth?

Only to note that the Government still responded—the Government response was received on Friday—and they accepted all of the errors raised in the original draft report.

It shows the importance of that detailed scrutiny. So, thank you for that. Are there any other comments or observations from Members? I don't see any.

So, we move on, then, to item 3.5, the Land Transaction Tax (Temporary Variation of Rates and Bands for Residential Property Transactions) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. Members have before them all the relevant papers, including the letter from the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd of 3 March 2021. These regulations amend the 2020 regulations of the same name to specify an extension to the current temporary variation to the land transaction tax rates and bands that will apply to purchases of certain residential property transactions. A Plenary debate, again, is scheduled for 23 March, and a merits point has been identified. Gareth.

There are two merits points. The first simply notes that these regulations are intended to provide additional support to taxpayers who are buying their homes. And the second notes that land transaction tax is paid into the Welsh consolidated fund.

Okay. Thank you for that. Are there any comments or observations?

4. Offerynnau sy'n codi materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i'r Senedd o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3 – trafodwyd yn flaenorol
4. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3 - previously considered

If not, then we move on to item 4.1, which is the Corporate Joint Committees (Amendment of Schedule 6 to the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011) Regulations 2021. Again, Members have the report and the Welsh Government response. These are regulations that we considered on 8 March. Our report was laid, again, on 8 March—the same day. Members are now invited to note the Welsh Government response that has been received. Are there any comments or observations on that? Okay. Thank you for that.

5. Datganiadau ysgrifenedig o dan Reol Sefydlog 30C
5. Written Statements under Standing Order 30C

On to item 5, the Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Kyoto Protocol Registry) (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021. Again, we have before us a written statement and the relevant commentary. The written statement gives notification that the Welsh Government has consented to the making of these regulations, and it notes that consent has been given for reasons of efficiency and expediency. The statement also notes that the regulations amend the Environment Act 1995 as it applies to charging authorities. The Natural Resources Body for Wales is a charging authority. Members may wish to seek clarification on this as to why a statutory instrument consent memorandum has not been laid before the Senedd insofar as the regulations amend the Environment Act 1995. So, I propose that we do that. Do Members agree with that? Does anyone want to add to that? Is there anything you want to add to it, Gareth? No. So, we'll make a note of that and we'll pursue that particular point.

09:40
6. Papurau i'w nodi
6. Papers to note

Item 6, and we have a number of papers to note, which I suggest we discuss in private session. But we have the letter from the Kennel Club on the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Wales) Regulations 2021, and the letter raises concerns about the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Wales) Regulations 2021, which we will be considering at next week's meeting. So, I suggest—. David.

I think it's worth putting on the public record that the contents of the letter from the Kennel Club relate to, substantially, a lack of consultation, which occurred in 2019 as well as 2020, and we understand the difficulties of consulting during COVID. But we have said that the major stakeholders, who are clearly identifiable, should still be consulted, wherever possible, and I think this underlines that call we've consistently made.

I think that's a very good point, and we will be considering this at our next meeting. So, we'll obviously raise issues relating to that then, but that is on the record now. Is there anyone else who wanted to add anything to that point that's been well identified, I think, and is consistent with the comments this committee has made with regard to capacity for consultation? Okay, we'll move on, then. David, thank you for that.

Item 6.2, we have the letter from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs on the committee report on the Welsh Government's supplementary legislative consent memorandum on the Environment Bill. So, there's a letter to note. It's a letter that responds to our report on the Welsh Government's LCM on the Environment Bill. Can I suggest we defer any discussion on that to private session? Thank you.

We move on to item 6.3, which is a letter from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs regarding the Official Controls (Temporary Measures) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 and the Organic Control (Amendment) Regulations 2021. We have the letter of 12 March 2021 to note, regarding the Welsh ministerial consent to the UK Government, legislating on behalf of Wales. I suggest we defer any discussion on that to private session. Thank you.  

7. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
7. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

We're ready to move into private session, so, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix), I invite the committee to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Are Members agreed we move into private session? Thank you very much. So, we now move into private session.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 09:44.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 09:44.