The Internal Market Bill could pose a threat to Scotland’s Councils and the Communities they serve, COSLA said today (Monday).
COSLA also called for clarity in relation to the protection of essential local services from potentially being undermined as a result of this Bill.
Commenting, COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison said: “Now more than ever, it is imperative that the three spheres of government – UK, Scottish and Local - work together in the interests and the wellbeing of the of the communities we serve.
“The Internal Market Bill poses a threat to Scotland’s Councils, and as the President of COSLA, I must stress the real concerns of Scottish Local Government about a number of areas.
These areas include:
- We want clarity in relation to the protection of essential local services from being undermined as a result of this Bill;
- We want clarity that Local Authorities can continue to issue public subsidies (state aid), for instance to local community halls, from January 1st without fear of legal challenge or the risk of UK Government veto;
- We want to ensure that there is formalised partnership with Local Government to deal with EU returned powers via the so-called UK Common Frameworks;
- We want an independent regulator and enforcer on UK-wide internal market matters that has the buy in of the four Devolved administrations and Local Government;
- We want absolute clarity that most decisions and management of the replacement of EU funding continue to take place in Scotland, and that these monies are additional to the current Scottish Block Grant;
- We want clarity on trade arrangements with Northern Ireland and with the EU, including support for local preparedness such as building new road and port infrastructure which must involve detailed discussions with appropriate local councils.
Councillor Evison concluded: “The last thing that Scottish Local Government or our Communities need at the end of this challenging year is the further unsettling scenario that the Internal Market Bill poses as it currently stands.
“We urge the Lords and, Commons when the Bill comes back to House, to amend this legislation to ensure that our six key concerns are addressed.”