Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee22/05/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies MS|
|Huw Irranca-Davies MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|James Evans MS|
|Peredur Owen Griffiths MS|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Kate Rabaiotti||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Sarah Sargent||Ail Glerc|
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 13:30.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 13:30.
Prynhawn da. Croeso, pawb. Welcome, everybody, to this meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee today. Just as normal reminders to everybody, the meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv and the Record of Proceedings will be published as usual, and apart from the procedural adaptations to conducting these proceedings in virtual format, all the other Standing Order requirements remain in place. As per normal, if I can just remind Members to make sure that their mobile devices are switched to silent, and we're operating as per normal through the mediums of Welsh and English today, so we have interpretation available. By the way, we don't have any apologies today; we do have a full attendance. Alun Davies has just been slightly delayed, but he will join us in a minute or so as well. So, we're fully quorate.
So, with that, we'll move on to item No. 2, which is instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. And we turn straight away, then, to 2.1, which is a made negative resolution instrument, SL(6)355, the Cancellation of Student Loans for Living Costs Liability (Wales) Regulations 2023, and these regulations provide for up to £1,500 of a full-time undergraduate student's living costs loan for the academic year 2023-24 to be cancelled in certain circumstances and subject to certain terms. The cancellation will not be in the form of a cash lump sum; rather, it's that the balance of an individual's loan will be reduced by the appropriate amount the day after a borrower's first repayment is made. Now, our Senedd lawyers have identified no reporting points on this, so if I could simply ask Members if they're happy to agree the reporting points. And we are. Thank you very much.
Which then takes us on to instruments that do raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Orders 21.2 or 21.3, and we go first of all to item 3.1. It's a made negative resolution, SL(6)356, the Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2023, and the regulations here provide for the purpose of implementing the procurement chapters of two free trade agreements entered into by the UK. One of them is with Australia, and the other with New Zealand, and the regulations also make general amendments to public procurement regulations to ensure compliance with commitments made in the UK-Australia free trade agreements. The regulations apply in relation to devolved Welsh authorities and they come into force on 26 May 2023. Now, our lawyers have identified three technical reporting points and one merits reporting point. Kate, I wonder if you could take us through those, please.
Thank you. The first two technical points both relate to defective drafting, and the third technical point seeks further explanation from Welsh Government about the transitional provision in regulation 5.1. The merits point is just to note that these regulations amend and come into force the day after equivalent regulations being made by the UK Government, and we're waiting for the Welsh Government's response to the three technical points.
Thank you, Kate. Any comments, colleagues, or are you happy to note those reporting points? We are. Thank you, Kate.
Which takes us on, then, to a composite negative resolution instruments under item 3.2. That's SL(6)358, the Education (Student Finance) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2023, and we have a draft report and a written statement by the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language of 12 May 2023. These regulations make amendments to the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009, which make provision for the repayment of income-contingent student loans in England and Wales. The regulations make provision for a temporary reduction of interest rates on certain loans, and they insert a new formula for the calculation of the fixed installment rate applicable to plan 3 postgraduate degree loans. The regulations also make technical amendments to the 2009 regulations, and further technical amendments on an England-only basis in relation to certain England-only subordinate legislation. So, I draw Members' attention to the written statement by the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, which is included in the papers. Kate, you've identified one technical reporting point and two merits points here.
Yes, that's correct. The technical point is to note that the composite regulations are made and laid in English only. And then the merits points note, first, that there has been no consultation in relation to the regulations, and, second, that there is no regulatory impact assessment.
Thank you, Kate. Colleagues, any comments on that? If not, I assume we're happy to agree those reporting points. We are. Okay, thank you.
We'll go on, then, to item 4, which is instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.7. We have one item here, under item 4.1. It is SL(6)357, the school admission appeals code, and we have a draft report there for your consideration under paper 5. This code, first issued in 2013, has been revised to reflect the changes made by the Education (Admission Appeals Arrangements) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 that came into force on 3 May 2023. These regulations amended the Education (Admission Appeals Arrangements) (Wales) Regulations 2005 in order to codify certain temporary arrangements that were introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic and to make provisions about the format of appeal hearings. The code also includes some technical amendments that reflect legislative changes since the previous code was issued in 2013. Now, our lawyers have identified one reporting point under Standing Order 21.7, which identifies a substantial number of errors in the code. Kate, can you take us through what you've found, please?
Yes. The reporting point identifies a number of errors. It identifies eight substantive errors and 55 more minor errors. Some of the errors are inconsistencies between the meaning of the Welsh and the English texts, and we've asked Welsh Government for a response on this.
That's great. We'll wait on the response for that, then, Kate. With that, colleagues, are we happy to note those points there? We'll await the Welsh Government response. Okay, thank you very much.
On we go, then, to item 5, where we have notifications and correspondence under the inter-institutional relations agreement, and we'll turn, first of all under this section, to item 5.1, correspondence from the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution in respect of the inter-ministerial group on justice. So, we note the letter from the Counsel General, stating that the inaugural meeting of the inter-ministerial group on justice will be held on 24 May this week, and the Counsel General notes that the meeting is due to be chaired by Lord Bellamy KC, and is likely to focus on a range of issues relating to the Victims and Prisoners Bill, the prisons, court recovery, legal aid, human rights, and of course retained EU law. If there are any comments, just stick your hand up or shout at me, colleagues.
Item 5.2, we have correspondence from the Minister for Climate Change. In the letter, the Minister states that she confirms her intention to agree to the UK Government making and laying the Transport and Works (Applications, Objections and Inquiries Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 2023. These rules would make changes to the process for submitting and processing applications for Orders under the Transport and Works Act 1992, to enable the use of electronic methods of communication and submission. Now, the 2023 rules amend both the 2006 rules and the 2004 rules. However, the Minister confirms that the amendment to the 2004 rules will only apply to England, and the Minister states that the proposed minor changes to the 2006 rules accord with the Welsh Government's wider agenda to streamline consenting processes and would have environmental benefits by removing the need to provide paper documents for TWA applications. And the Minister will update this committee when the amendment rules 2023 have been agreed. Are we happy to note that? We are.
Item 53, then, is correspondence from the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution in respect of the Interministerial Standing Committee. The letter was issued on 17 May and informs us about the fourth meeting of that standing committee taking place later that day, on 17 May—on the same day. The meeting was due to be chaired by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations. The Counsel General informed us in the letter that the discussion would focus on UK legislation, investment zones, common frameworks, and he also writes that he will provide a further update following on from that meeting. So, we look forward to receiving that update.
Item 5.4, we have correspondence from the Minister for Economy in respect of the inter-ministerial group for trade, which is scheduled for 25 May this week. And the agenda includes updates on the UK-India free trade agreement negotiations, the US state memoranda of understanding, and the UK-Canada free trade agreement negotiations. And, again, the Minister says that he will update us further following the meeting.
If we're content to note all of those under the inter-ministerial section, we'll move on, then, to item 6, which is papers to note.
The first of these—and, again, if there's anything you want to raise as we go through these, just stick your hand up or shout at me—is item 6.1. We have correspondence to the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution in respect of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. So, we just note for the public record the letter we have sent to the Counsel General in relation to the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, and, in particular, in relation to the latest developments regarding the Bill and the amendments agreed during Lords Report Stage. Members of this committee will know that we have asked that the questions we put to the Counsel General be addressed in a further supplementary legislative consent memorandum, which we do anticipate will be laid before the Senedd. So, we'll have those answers, then, in the full light of the Senedd.
Item 6.2, then, we have correspondence from the Minister for Climate Change in respect of allocation for Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023. The Minister states that these regulations are being drafted for the purpose of giving people who've been affected by the violence in Sudan eligibility to housing and homelessness services in Wales, and it waives the habitual residence test. The UK Government has agreed to make changes to the way it applies the test for people evacuated from the violence in Sudan, and these changes, the Minister says, require an urgent response to ensure parity of response in Wales. So, the Minister requests that we give an early consideration and provide an urgent report on the amended regulations in time for a Plenary debate on 6 June 2023. And just to note, Members, we can return to this in private, but I suspect that we'll be of the mind to try and accommodate this request and accede to the Minister's request to expedite this, so that we have the right matters in hand for refugees from Sudan.
If I turn, then, to item 6.3, we have correspondence from the Chair of the Local Government and Housing Committee to the Llywydd in respect of the legislative consent memorandum on the Illegal Migration Bill. The Local Government and Housing Committee, just to note, have decided, they inform us, against reporting on the LCM, as they state
'mainly because the provisions of the Bill fall outside of the Committee's remit.'
But they also note, for committee members to note, that several committees are undertaking work on this LCM, including this committee, but also the Equality and Social Justice Committee, and, quite likely, the Children, Young People and Education Committee too.
Item 6.4, then, we have correspondence from the Minister for Health and Social Services in respect of the Welsh Government's response to the committee's report on the Health Service Procurement (Wales) Bill. I'm sure we'll return to this in private session, but just to note for now the letter from the Minister setting out the Welsh Government's response to the five recommendations we made in our report.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
If Members are content in noting all of those, then we'll move rapidly now, with your consent, under Standing Order 17.42, into private session to deal with the remainder of our business. Are you happy to do that? We are. So, we'll move into private session, please.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 13:46.
The public part of the meeting ended at 13:46.