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Power grab fears over new UK Government legislation

Pryder bod deddfwriaeth newydd gan Lywodraeth y DU yn cipio pwerau

The Welsh Government has raised concerns over a new Bill that could see the UK Government legislate in areas of devolved responsibility without the consent of Welsh Ministers or the Senedd.

It has also warned it could lead to reductions in standards, and uncertainty for people and businesses.

The Retained EU Law (Reform and Revocation) Bill was introduced in the House of Commons yesterday.

The Bill contains a series of wide-ranging powers that would allow UK Government Ministers to change or delete a vast body of laws in devolved areas that date from the time of EU membership, almost all of which were agreed by previous UK Governments. The timescales set by the Bill mean that there is a real risk that key laws and protections could disappear at the end of 2023.

The Counsel General wrote to Jacob Rees-Mogg, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, earlier in the week to outline his concerns about the legislation, and to stress the need for a different approach.

Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said:

“As currently drafted, this legislation could see UK Government Ministers given unfettered authority to legislate in devolved areas – contrary to the democratically established devolution settlement.

“It also risks the reduction of standards in important areas including employment, health and the environment.

“We are disappointed the Bill has reached this stage with such little engagement with the Welsh Government about its most important aspects, and we call on the UK Government to bring about the legislative changes that will ensure Wales’ constitutional integrity and devolution settlement is respected and preserved.”