28.The UK has been a member of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) since 1 January 1973, but its membership will lapse as part of the EU exit process. These new Nuclear Co-operation Agreements replicate the UK’s Euratom arrangements with the governments of the USA, Australia and Canada and with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Agreements provide a legally–binding basis for the regulation of civilian nuclear activity and implement a system of safeguards to monitor the use, transportation and disposal of civil nuclear materials. The Additional Protocol signed in June 2018 creates equivalent international safeguards allowing the IAEA access to monitor and inspect UK nuclear facilities. Because the IAEA will need to undertake extra work once Euratom is no longer involved in the UK’s safeguarding arrangements, the UK has agreed to make additional budgetary contributions to IAEA, at a level yet to be determined. The Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018 enables the UK to establish a domestic nuclear safeguards regime following its departure from Euratom and ensures that the obligations entered into under these Agreements and Protocol can be complied with.
29.This instrument introduces domestic enforcement provisions for the UK as required by the EU’s Geo-Blocking Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2018/302). According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Geo-Blocking Regulation prohibits discrimination of customers, for example in terms of pricing or access to goods or services, on the ground of their nationality or place of residence. The aim is to create a level playing field for customers across the EU. Certain goods and services are exempt, including copyrighted materials, such as e-books, video games and streamed movies and music. BEIS explains that the instrument will enable regulators, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, to use the enforcement regime under the Enterprise Act 2002 to seek court orders against a trader that is in breach of the Geo-Blocking Regulations. The instrument will also enable customers to bring a claim directly against a trader where they have suffered a loss because the trade has breached the Geo-Blocking Regulation. BEIS has told us that in a ‘no deal’ scenario, the instrument would be revoked, and that the Department will lay a separate instrument in due course making provision for this. BEIS has also published a Technical Notice which sets out the practical implications of a ‘no deal’ exit for the Geo-Blocking Regulations. The note clarifies that while UK traders would be able to offer different terms to their UK customers compared to customers from an EU Member State, they would continue to be bound by the provisions of the Geo-Blocking Regulation when operating in the EU and dealing with EU customers.
30.These Regulations, laid by the Department for Education (DfE), provide for the way in which local authorities are to set their education budgets in the 2019–20 financial year. In the Explanatory Memorandum (EM), DfE says that the Regulations largely make the same provisions as the School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/10, relating to the 2018–19 financial year), but that there are some changes relating to how local authorities are to spend their Dedicated Schools Grant (“DSG”) allocation. DSG comprises four blocks: for schools, high needs, early years, and central school services.
31.The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee drew SI 2018/10 to the attention of the House in its 17th Report of this Session. It noted that the instrument had been laid against the background of announcements by Government both of an additional £1.3 billion, and of the final national funding formula, for schools. It commented that DfE should have provided more information about this funding background than was given in the EM to SI 2018/10.
32.The EM to SI 2018/1185 again gives little explanation of what education budget has been set for 2019–20. We sought additional information from DfE, which we are publishing as Appendix 1. We note the Department’s statement that, whilst there is some connection between the Regulations and the total amount of money which it provides for schools and early years, the purpose and effect of the Regulations are largely separate from this. It has also said that the changes made by these Regulations are largely implementing changes that have already been extensively consulted on as part of the consultations on the national funding formulae for schools and early years. We accept that this is the case, but in our view it is unrealistic to present the methodology for allocating funding in isolation from the quantum of that funding. DfE has now undertaken to revise and relay the EM accordingly.
31 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Guidance: Geo-blocking of online content if there’s no Brexit deal (12 October 2018): [accessed 28 November 2018].
32 , Session 2017–19 (HL Paper 71).