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Examination of Witness

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Joe Owen:

I have to admit that I am by no means an expert on social security, but this is part of a broader Brexit phenomenon. The level of uncertainty of what sits ahead, and the need to pass legislation, means that the Government have to take broad powers in certain areas to cover all aspects of a no-deal scenario. Whether there is the necessary scrutiny of that, and the necessary security as to the powers being used properly, is a different question, but it would in some cases be quite difficult to get away from taking broad powers on Brexit-related issues, unless the Government were to be quite forward-looking about what they planned to do.

In short, it is kind of unavoidable that there are some quite broad powers in the Bill, but there is a serious question about whether there is the right level of scrutiny, and what more Select Committees, for example, could do to make sure the powers are used properly.