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Lords Committee raises concerns about the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill

23 February 2018

The Constitution Committee publishes a report on the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, which seeks to implement a new customs regime once the United Kingdom exits the European Union.

Key findings

The Committee highlights that the Bill is a piece of framework legislation, as it includes only limited policy detail and instead provides broad delegated powers to ministers to create a new customs regime. The Committee builds on the report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee on the Bill and raises concerns about the constitutional implications about the proposed powers.

The Bill proposes the use of the 'made affirmative' procedure for many of the powers; a procedure secondary legislation can be made immediately, without parliamentary scrutiny, although it cannot remain in force unless approved by Parliament. The Committee concludes that, while such powers may occasionally be justified in urgent circumstances, the Government has not made the case for the powers in this Bill.

The Committee also finds that the proposal in the Bill for legislating by public notice – with no scrutiny by Parliament – is overly broad, its potential use subjective, and thus is not constitutionally acceptable.

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