“Creation of UK-wide frameworks

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 4th December 2017.

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Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union) 4:30 pm, 4th December 2017

The Joint Ministerial Committee said that it wanted frameworks to be created in this way, I think at the time when the right hon. Gentleman was a Minister, so I really do not understand what his objection is today.

We need look no further than Wales to learn of the practical benefits of devolution. It is right that Cardiff should decide the best way to support farmers in Wales, within an agreed framework but according to their needs and priorities. Jobs Growth Wales has so far supported the employment of 17,000 young people using European funding. That decision would not have been possible if the arrangements proposed by the Government had been in place at the time. When I was first elected, the Tories and the Lib Dems scrapped the almost identical future jobs fund in 2010. Such decisions were devolved for good reason, and we will support the devolved Administrations in keeping them. Amendments 42 and 337, alongside new clause 64, would allow the Government until the end of the transitional arrangements to create UK frameworks.

I want to make it clear to the Minister that in tabling these new clauses and amendments, Labour is attempting to assist the Government by enabling the devolved Administrations to be engaged in decisions that have a direct impact on their people. If the Government accept our criticisms and proposed improvements, Ministers will find that they have a less turbulent time in the months ahead. Do the Government really think that it is wise to pass a Bill to which the devolved Administrations are so hostile? Ministers need to focus on negotiating the best possible deal for all the people of the UK, not on embroiling themselves in constitutional rows with Edinburgh and Cardiff.