Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Jodie Blackstock:

In principle, there will be. At the moment, we have complicated reciprocal arrangements that require member states to give effect to policy schemes across borders. Without an agreement in place, we could unilaterally make a decision to honour those schemes in this jurisdiction, and that might be seen as a policy change that it is not possible to make pursuant to section 8 of the withdrawal Act. That might be a positive way of protecting the rights of individuals who have access to such schemes at the moment in the UK, or indeed the rights of UK nationals who are living abroad.

If that is the intention of the legislation, there must be—as the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee has said in the context of the made affirmative procedure—work that has been undertaken already, and proposals that Parliament can consider and scrutinise to ensure that they protect accrued rights. There may well be a policy decision to limit those rights, and for the same reasons we think it is appropriate that Parliament gets to see those proposals. At the moment, the provisions in this Bill, as opposed to the regulations that have been submitted under section 8 of the Act, are just too broad. We propose that there should be scrutiny of those regulations rather than having an unknown power here.