Continuity Act - Policy Statement and Annual Report

Closed 11 Nov 2021

Opened 29 Oct 2021

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

In December 2020 the Scottish Parliament passed the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021. This Act provides Ministers with powers to help meet the Scottish Government’s commitment that Scottish laws “keep pace” with future developments in EU law where appropriate. The Scottish Government has now drafted two documents in relation to these “keeping pace” powers, a Policy Statement* and an Annual Report*. The Committee would like to hear your views on these documents.

*We aim to make all of the information we publish fully accessible. However, when documents are provided by external organisations this is not always possible. If you need the document provided in an alternative format, please contact the clerk of the committee. Further information can be found in our accessibility statement.

The Act allows the Parliament 28 days to scrutinise both the draft policy statement and draft annual report and after the final versions have been laid, a further 28 days.

Policy statement

The Act requires that Ministers must publish, a statement of their policy on:

  1. the approach to be taken
  2. the factors to be taken into account and
  3. the process to be followed

when considering whether to use the keeping pace power.

Annual Report

The Scottish Ministers must, for each reporting period, prepare and lay before the Scottish Parliament a report explaining:

  • how the keeping pace power has been used during the reporting period
  • how that use of the power contributes or has contributed towards maintaining and advancing standards in specified policy areas
  • how they intend to use the power following the reporting period;
  • how their intended use of the power would contribute towards maintaining and advancing standards in these areas
  • any use of the power that has been considered by the Scottish Ministers during the reporting period.

Background

During the passage of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021, Scottish Government Ministers indicated that:

"The purpose of introducing the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (“the Bill”) is to enable the Scottish Ministers to make provision in secondary legislation to allow Scots law to be able to 'keep pace' with EU law in devolved areas, where appropriate."

The Programme for Government for 2021-22 stated:

"With a view to re‑joining the EU as soon as we are able to, we will preserve Scotland’s good relations with the EU and implement our commitment to align with EU standards and laws, and we will affirm the need for international cooperation to solve global issues."

Read a briefing by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) on the commitment to align with EU law.

How to submit your views

Please submit your views on either or both of these documents using the online submission form, linked to below.

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. 

The call for views closes on 11 November 2021.

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