The Constitution Committee publishes a report on the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill, which seeks to implement provisions supporting UK hauliers to operate internationally once the United Kingdom exits the European Union.
The Committee notes that the Bill is framework legislation, as it includes limited policy detail and instead provides broad delegated powers to Ministers to introduce new administrative systems. The Committee concludes that while such powers may be necessary during the Brexit process, bills that grant broad powers to ministers, on the basis of no clear policy, are difficult for Parliament to scrutinise and present a fundamental challenge to the balance of power between Parliament and the executive.
In line with the conclusions of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC), the Committee recommends that sunset clauses should be included into the Bill to mitigate the concerns about the uncertainty as to how the powers may be used.
The Committee also draws attention to clauses that allow for the creation of new criminal offences through the negative procedure. The Committee recommends that the DPRRC’s proposal for a sifting committee to examine instruments under the Bill is implemented as this would allow regulations creating new offences to be subject to the affirmative procedure where appropriate.