Date laid: 29 November 2018
Sifting period ends: 18 December 2018
1.These three Proposed Negative instruments all deal with aspects of continuing funding under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). They raise important issues and involve large amounts of money. We were therefore disappointed that the Explanatory Memoranda (EMs) were so uninformative. For example, they provide no explanation of the different instruments’ discrete functions; they do not explain that EAFRD involves £400-450 million expenditure per year, nor do they explain what the money is spent on. The supplementary information that we have been given indicates that this may be less than the expenditure previously sent to the EU for those purposes, but that is not clear. Supplementary material from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also states that, in a ‘no deal’ scenario, not only will these Regulations permit existing projects to continue, but they will also allow new ones to be commissioned up to 2020. The proposed European Structural and Investments Funds Common Provisions (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 would also perform a similar function for the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund which will cost £132.7 million for the remainder of the programme period up to 2020. The EMs provided simply state that these instruments correct deficiencies in retained law to the effect that in a ‘no deal’ scenario they would allow continued delivery of payments already committed to. The lack of sufficient background information and the almost total absence of any financial analysis in the EMs make Parliamentary scrutiny of these Regulations difficult. We therefore recommend that these three instruments should be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure to allow the House an opportunity to press the Minister for a fuller explanation of their purpose and effect.