Amendment 56A

Part of Professional Qualifications Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 22 June 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip) 4:30, 22 June 2021

Hoffwn ddiolch i bawb a siaradodd yn y dadl byr ond bwysig hon. I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this short but very important debate. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, for her amendment, which relates to Clause 14 and the Welsh Minister’s powers to make regulations under the Bill. I note that it is supported by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. The amendment would remove the subsections within Clause 14 whereby a Minister of the Crown’s consent would be required before any provision is made by Welsh Ministers in regulations that would, if contained in an Act of Senedd Cymru, require such consent.

First, I reiterate that the Government fully respect the devolution settlements. Devolved matters should normally be for the devolved Administrations to legislate on. It is hard to conceive of a scenario where this would not be adhered to. I remind noble Lords that the Government are seeking legislative consent to the Bill in line with the Sewel convention. The conditions in Clause 14 that the amendment would strip out are entirely in line with the devolution settlements. To deviate from the agreed position under the Welsh devolution settlement purely for the purposes of regulations made under the Bill would be inappropriate and unnecessary.

On the concurrent powers in the Bill, some professions are regulated on a UK-wide basis, and the regulation of some professions is entirely at devolved level. The Bill will apply to the entirety of the UK and, in line with the devolution settlements, allow the devolved Administrations to make regulations within devolved competence. The inclusion of concurrent powers ensures that professions which fall within devolved competence but are regulated on a UK-wide basis can be dealt with under the Bill by the relevant appropriate national authority. Of course, we shall always consult the relevant devolved Administration before these powers are used in devolved areas.

In answer to the noble Baronesses, Lady Randerson and Lady Finlay of Llandaff, officials met the Education Workforce Council at the end of April and are meeting the social care regulators next week to discuss the Bill. Social Care Wales was on the first indicative list and came off the second one following clarification from departments. As noble Lords know, the Education Workforce Council was on both lists. Because we are meeting the regulators so shortly, I will agree to write to noble Lords and update them on the progress of those discussions when they have actually happened. To that end, I hope that I can persuade the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.