SPICe Post-Brexit Hub

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SPICe has launched its post-Brexit hub. The hub is a one stop shop for information on arrangements in the UK post-Brexit, including common frameworks, inter-governmental relations and key Brexit related legislation.

This blog explains what the post-Brexit hub is and why it’s necessary.

What does the new hub include?

The hub brings together information about:

  • common frameworks
  • intergovernmental relations
  • key Brexit related legislation affecting Scotland.

The hub aims to help you to understand each of these topics and how they may affect Scotland. If your knowledge on the subject matter is already good, the hub will help you to keep up to date with what’s happening as common frameworks in particular policy areas develop.

Why has the new hub been created?

The UK’s departure from the EU is incredibly complicated. As a member state of the EU, the UK has followed many laws set at an EU level. When the UK leaves the EU and the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, new laws, rules and regulations may be developed.

The hub will help you to understand the different ways in which laws and rules are being made. It will also help you to navigate and keep up-to-date with what is happening in terms of developing these laws and rules.

What are common frameworks and why are they needed?

To date, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have followed broadly the same rules as England, even in areas of devolved competence like agriculture, because of the need to comply with EU law. This requirement  to comply with EU rules has ensured a common approach to policy in many areas across the UK.

When the UK leaves the EU, and the need to comply with EU rules falls away at the end of the transition period, it is possible that the different nations of the UK pursue different policies. This would erode the policy consistency which has existed to date. In some areas, policy differences may be unproblematic. In others, however, the impact could be significant.

The UK, Welsh and Scottish Governments (and officials from the Northern Ireland Executive) have agreed that, after the UK leaves the EU, there will continue to be benefit in having policy uniformity in some areas. This uniformity can come from creating frameworks which the UK and devolved administrations agree.

Common frameworks is a term used to describe a range of arrangements which may be established to maintain common policy, or at least to manage policy divergence. It is anticipated that common frameworks will be either legislative (legally binding) or non-legislative (not legally binding but agreed through, for example, memorandums of understanding between governments).

The hub will monitor the development of these frameworks by collating all the work done at the Scottish Parliament in relation to them.

How can laws develop differently?

In areas of reserved policy, like trade and immigration, the UK Parliament needs to create new laws which set out what the rules are after the UK leaves the EU. These rules will apply to the whole of the UK. The hub will monitor this legislation in the key legislation section.

The hub will also look at Bills introduced in the Scottish Parliament which cover policy areas for which the Scottish Parliament is responsible. These laws will only apply to Scotland.

In addition, as some common frameworks may be legislative (set out in law). The hub will provide information on the law being used to underpin common frameworks.

Why does the hub cover intergovernmental relations?

Intergovernmental relations (IGR) are the processes through which governments interact formally and informally.

With the scale of the post-Brexit challenge, it is important to know how the UK Government and the devolved administrations (the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive) are working together.

The hub’s section on IGR will bring together information on IGR in the UK (such as meetings) and also contains some FAQs on the topic.

Has the Scottish Parliament looked at common frameworks?

Yes. A number of Scottish Parliament committees have already carried out preliminary work on common frameworks.  The hub provides an on-going narrative on the work of the committees of the Scottish Parliament in relation to the common frameworks that fall within their remit.

Each committee has its own page on the hub outlining its action on common frameworks. This could be, for example, through exchanging correspondence with the Scottish Government or by holding evidence sessions with academics, relevant stakeholders or Government Ministers.

Future content and blogs

Keep an eye on SPICe Spotlight for further blogs on the content of the hub highlighting key developments and emerging issues.

From time to time, guest blogs may be published on SPICe Spotlight which relate to the Post-Brexit hub. These blogs are aimed to inform debate and, as with all guest blogs, are the views of the author, not those of SPICe or the Scottish Parliament.

Sarah Atherton and Rebecca Bartlett, SPICe research