Review of Holyrood committees needed post-Brexit, experts say

Constitutional, fiscal and economic experts say devolution has become more complex due to Brexit.

Review of Holyrood committees needed post-Brexit, experts say Scottish Parliament

A review of the Scottish Parliament’s committee structure is needed in response to Brexit and the transfer of new powers, according to a panel of experts.

A group of constitutional, fiscal and economic experts have published a report which states devolution has become more complex due to the addition of recent fiscal powers and the EU exit.

It recommends a short review which will advise on committee remits for the next parliamentary session after the election.

The report was commissioned by Holyrood’s Constitution Committee and MSPs will consider it next week.

Panel member Professor James Mitchell, of Edinburgh University, said: “Devolution is now much more complex and challenging to understand with the powers of Scottish ministers shared with UK ministers in many significant policy areas.

“For example, in relation to income tax and in many policy areas previously within the competence of the EU.

“This means that the Parliament will need to be much more aware of how UK legislation impacts on devolved areas, including the extent to which it constrains the powers of Scottish ministers.

“At the same time the Parliament will need to continue to scrutinise policy developments at an EU level.

“Both in terms of the ongoing impact of the UK-EU trade agreement on devolved areas and the extent to which the keeping pace power is used.”

Charlotte Barbour, of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, said there would be an additional “scrutiny burden” arising from Brexit.

She said: “To support this work, we propose that a short and tightly focused independent review of the committee structure should be established forthwith and report to the Parliament as soon as practically possible.

“The focus of the review should be on committee remits in the next Parliament and should include consideration of the issues raised in this report and the legacy reports of other committees.”

Constitution Committee convener Bruce Crawford said: “The calibre of our expert panel speaks volumes. I welcome this insightful, authoritative analysis.

“There is much for our committee and the rest of the Parliament to consider.

“I am sure it will be influential on the establishment of committees in the new Parliament.”

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