Devolved administration and local government input into new trade deals examined.

14 November 2018

The International Trade Committee continues its inquiry examining UK trade policy transparency and scrutiny. In this session, the Committee examines the extent to which devolved administrations and local government should be involved in the development and scrutiny of trade policy and new trade agreements, as the UK begins to establish a post-Brexit trade regime.

First panel

The Committee will firstly focus on the role that devolved administrations and legislatures should play in relation to Government trade policy and agreements, taking evidence from the Minister for Trade, Innovation and Investment at the Scottish Government and the Permanent Secretary from Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy.

The Committee is expected to examine the current arrangements for devolved administration involvement within the existing European Union framework, commitments and proposals for the future put forward by the UK Government, and proposals from the devolved administrations. The Committee will also questionwitnesses on the desired level of transparency during trade negotiations.

Second panel

The Committee will then hear from witnesses – including the leader of Staffordshire County Council and the Deputy Leader of Essex County Council – about local government involvement in trade policy.  The Committee is expected to consider the local and regional impact of trade agreements, including relatingto procurement and public services, as well as the benefits of involving localgovernment in trade policy development.

We have to ask ourselves what influence our local county councils have incomparison with the national aspirations and governments of Scotland and Wales?If the UK government really wants to include the numerous English local governments in their deliberations then they are dealing with a ‘witches brew’ as Will Hutton labelled regional government. It is beyond high time that England was represented as an entity in Brexit deliberations and not piece meal.

Scilla Cullen

Director and Membership Secretary