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Y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

15/07/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Carwyn Jones AM
Dai Lloyd AM
Mick Antoniw AM Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Gareth Howells Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
P Gareth Williams Clerc
Clerk
Rachael Davies Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Samiwel Davies Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

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.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:30.

The meeting began at 14:30.

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

Okay, this is a meeting of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. I'll go straight on to item 1. There are no apologies. Suzy Davies, for personal reasons, may or may not be able to attend. We've been in contact with her about that. The usual housekeeping rules will apply. Are there any declarations of interest? If there aren't any declarations of interest, we can move straight on.

2. Offerynnau nad ydynt yn codi unrhyw faterion i gyflwyno adroddiad yn eu cylch o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
2. Instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

Item 2, instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. We go straight on to the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. These regulations amend the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989. The regulations will correct references to EU law that will be inoperable after the UK leaves the EU and make provision on the chargeable status of European Economic Area state and Swiss visitors using NHS services in Wales in the event of a 'no deal' EU exit. And these amendments will ensure that specific categories of visitors from EU and EEA states and Switzerland remain exempt from charging for particular NHS care. Any comments there?

Only to clarify, if it's of use: these regulations set out the position in Wales on recovering NHS charges in the event of exiting the EU with no deal. Going forward, the UK Government hopes to enter into an agreement with the EU around reciprocal arrangements for healthcare charges.  

So, would that mean that if there is a deal, this regulation will be disapplied or whatever?

I would imagine the deal would override these regulations.

Okay. On to item 2.2, the M4 Motorway (Junction 40 (Tai Bach) to Junction 42 (Earlswood), Neath Port Talbot) (50 mph Speed Limit) Regulations 2019. The regulations impose a maximum speed limit of 50 mph on the length of the M4 motorway specified in the schedule to the regulations. Noted? Any comments or observations? No.

3. Datganiadau ysgrifenedig o dan Reol Sefydlog 30C
3. Written statements under Standing Order 30C

On to item 3 then, written statements under Standing Order 30C. We have the Trade in Animals and Animal Products (Legislative Functions) and Veterinary Surgeons (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. You will see there the statement and the commentary with your papers. These are regulations that make changes to existing EU legislation and they will allow the UK to align with the EU and approve third countries for the purpose of animal and product imports upon the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Part 2 of the regulations transfers legislative functions to the Secretary of State to make regulations in relation to the UK, but only if the consent of the Welsh Ministers and the other devolved administrations is obtained to the making of such legislation. The regulation-making power permits UK lists of approved third countries to be amended, allowing countries to be added, varied or removed from the list. Before making regulations, the Secretary of State must have regard to the views of the devolved administrations, including the Welsh Ministers. Some comments there?

There are a couple more points noted on the draft report on pack page 9. There are some quotes in the explanatory memorandum that say that there are no border inspection posts in Wales, and that in future any animal would likely be received into England in the first instance. There's no further explanation as to what role, if any, Welsh ports might have in receiving imported animals. Also the explanatory memorandum states that any response to biosecurity risks would be a response for the whole of the UK. That sounds like a common framework, though it's not identified as such in explanatory materials. I understand that these regulations are being brought to the attention of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, which may want to look at the policy in a bit more detail.

So, the issue is, there are potential implications in respect of existing posts within Wales.

14:35

I understand there are no border inspection posts in Wales at the moment, and it's unclear whether there should be a role for border posts in Wales going ahead after exit.

I think it's a policy issue, isn't it, in terms of—. I take it animals do come into Welsh ports at the moment, but with this they won't be. They will be coming to Liverpool and presumably—

I'm not sure whether they do or not. At the back of my mind, I think, a few years ago, when we were looking at this, at that time, anyway, there were no animals coming in—at that time. It may have changed.

Yes. But, I mean, they need to be there, these regulations, because that could change at any time.

Yes. Anyway, that would be considered as a policy issue by the appropriate committee. Is there anything that we specifically need to comment or observe on this, other than to note those points?

4. Offerynnau Statudol sydd angen cydsyniad: Ymadael â’r UE
4. Statutory instruments requiring consent: Brexit

Item 4, statutory instruments requiring consent on Brexit. We have the Animal Health, Invasive Alien Species, Plant Breeders’ Rights and Seeds (Amendment Etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. You have before you the statutory instrument consent memorandum, regulations, the explanatory memorandum, a letter from the Deputy Minister, a written statement and commentary. These regulations make a number of changes to existing instruments, taking into account recent changes to EU legislation that could not be included in earlier EU exit instruments. The regulations cover a number of policy areas, including invasive alien species, plant varieties, marketing of seeds and plant material, animal disease, control of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and animal by-products. Again, this is a further one where the Minister has indicated she's not minded to table a motion for debate about this statutory instrument. This is a matter where we wrote to her on another instrument in respect of the advice letter from the Presiding Officer with regard to if it's not laid then, effectively, consent can't be given. And it does raise the concern, I think, that we've expressed, about effectively almost moving to a system of an endorsed deemed consent. Nothing to add? 

[Inaudible.]

Sorry, I've taken the wind out of your sails. Nothing to add to that. All I'd say is, on this one, I think it's just another one we should add to—. We should write and just refer to it that this is an additional one. And it does raise the issue of concern that, in some ways, we're almost being bypassed with the sort of deemed consent system, with the Assembly effectively being bypassed on this. So, there's a concern there.

Chair, it would be worth reminding the Welsh Government that there's been a sort of inter-whatever agreement between this committee and Welsh Government in terms of this committee representing the legislature, as it were—that effective scrutiny is going to be upheld at all times, or words to that effect.

Of course, and we'll write. I think the thing that concerned me most at this stage was that it becomes the norm to effectively just leave it to UK level to deal with, and effectively our consent is not legally given and is deemed. I just think it notches down the issue of consent. So, that's something that we need to take up. So, we can do that. Any other comments or observations? No. 

5. Llythyr gan Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cyllid at y Cwnsler Cyffredinol: Bil Senedd ac Etholiadau (Cymru)
5. Letter from the Chair of the Finance Committee to the Counsel General: Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill

We move on to item 5, a letter from the Chair of the Finance Committee to the Counsel General. Just a letter there to note in relation to the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill, seeking a delay to the financial resolution. If there's anything on this, we can defer this to discuss in private session, but I think we're all aware of the position there. It's being deferred. Nothing else on that? No. 

6. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod
6. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting

Cynnig:

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

Motion:

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

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

We go on to item 6, which is, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42, inviting the committee to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Is that moved? All agreed. Okay. We move into private session.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:39.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 14:39.

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