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Devolved legislatures agree areas of common concern on Brexit

03 March 2017

Joint talks on Brexit have been held today at the Scottish Parliament, with Members of the European committees of the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and the London Assembly all participating.

Delegates also heard a perspective from Northern Ireland, with academic experts from Queens University, Belfast, and Cambridge University talking about issues of particular concern to Northern Ireland.
 
The politicians identified areas of common concern on issues including:
 

  • the free movement of people
  • the replacement of European funding
  • intergovernmental relations.

 
Speaking after the conclusion of the talks, Len Duvall AM, Chair of the London Assembly EU Exit Working Group, said:

“The issue of losing access to EU labour is one of our major concerns. London is in many ways unique in terms of its reliance on EU workers. More immigrants come to live and work in London than any other city in the UK and Europe.

Clearly there is still a lot of uncertainty around how immigration policy will be refigured post-Brexit. With the current uncertainty around the status of EU migrant workers, the government needs to come up with some real, sustainable solutions to potential skills shortages - particularly in the sectors making key contributions to London’s and the UK’s economy.”
 
 
Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, said:
 
“We were able to quickly identify a number of areas where we share common ground, such as the free movement of people and the need for skilled workers in our economy, both of which are mutual concerns for the Scottish Parliament and London Assembly. We’ve previously called for a differentiated solution for Scotland on immigration and it is clear that is of relevance to other parts of the UK too.
 
We also share with the Welsh Assembly a common concern of maintaining access to structural and agricultural funding after Brexit. It’s vital that we get clarification on the future of projects that are dependent on these sources of funding after the UK withdraws from the EU.
 
Bringing together the European Committees from Edinburgh, Cardiff and London has been a really valuable exercise in understanding the issues facing each of our legislatures.”
 
David Rees AM, Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee, National Assembly for Wales, said:
 
“The ability for the various parliamentary committees to come together, to discuss, evaluate, assess and perhaps come to a consensus on some points - is an important step in moving the agenda forward for our individual nations and in particular perhaps for trying to reach common ground where we want our own governments to be leading on the agendas for discussions with the UK Parliament.
 
There is a need to strengthen the structural relationships between the governments. The JMC is not a formalised body and is therefore not as strong as it could be. There is a need with leaving the EU to change the way ministers meet so there is a formal structure and so there is parity of the nations in the discussion process. It’s important that our voices are also heard around discussions on areas that are reserved, such as trade, but that affect us as individual nations.
 
Our Committee is undertaking an inquiry into regional policy and the future of structural funds (which are worth £2 billion over a seven year period). What is the future of these projects, post-Brexit, and what will the UK Government be doing on regional policy, post-Brexit?”
 
Lewis Macdonald MSP, Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, added:
 
“It was really important to hear a Northern Ireland perspective on issues like the customs union, free market access and future trade arrangements. These are matters of concern to each of our legislatures and the situation in Northern Ireland is likely to have an impact across the UK.”

Notes to editors

1. The EU Exit Working Group

2. Len Duvall AM, Chair of the EU Exit Working Group is available for interview. See contact details below.

3. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Alison Bell in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4228. For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.