Government agrees to consultative rights for local government post BREXIT

COSLA, working with the other UK local authority associations last night (Monday) secured an important victory in the Brexit negotiating process with the Government agreeing that, once the UK exits the EU, a process will be established to consult local government on reserved matters they would have been consulted on through the EU Committee of the Regions.

Councils across Europe currently have a formal advisory role in the EU law and policy-making process through their membership of the EU Committee of the Regions. This formal involvement in law-making has ensured that EU laws are improved by the experience of those at the frontline of delivery.

COSLA with the local authority associations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, have been in discussion with the UK Government ministers and civil servants about how this advisory role might be replicated in UK law. Our shared ambition is to replicate the advisory role of local government in the UK post-exit, without creating new bureaucracies, to help continue our role in good law-making and ensure no deficiency in local government powers.

Last night’s statement by the Government in the Lords is a positive step towards replicating the advisory role of local government in the UK post-exit, without creating new bureaucracies.

Cllr Alison Evison, President of COSLA, said:  “Brexit is more than a political discussion about the transfer of powers from Brussels to either Westminster or Holyrood.  From day to day councils make decisions over how services are planned for and delivered locally, making key decisions which affect people’s quality of life - all within increasingly tight budgets. 

“Any new legislative arrangements must deliver councils freedoms and flexibilities so that our people and communities can benefit.

“COSLA did not support leaving the EU, but as the sphere of Government closest to the people, I welcome the UK Government’s reassurances over our rights to be consulted and to make representations.

“What the UK Government is offering is intended, once we leave the EU, to replicate what we currently have with the European Institutions. COSLA looks forward to meeting with the UK Government and the other UK Associations to agree the way forward.

“I look forward to a later date when we can open up similar discussions with the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.”

Article published: 
Wed, 21/03/2018 - 09:48