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Post-Brexit nutrition rules require parliamentary scrutiny, says Lords committee

Wednesday 18 November 2020

The UK’s post-Brexit nutrition rules, in the form of the Nutrition Labelling, Composition and Standards (NLCS) framework, will need ongoing parliamentary scrutiny after the end of the transition period, according to the House of Lords Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee.

In a letter sent yesterday to the Minster for Health, Edward Argar MP, the Committee identified three areas of concern about the NLCS framework and made a recommendation to facilitate future parliamentary scrutiny.
First, the Committee observed that “there are sections that are highlighted as incomplete and subject to further discussions between the four administrations”, which raises serious concerns about the process for scrutinising this framework.

Second, the Committee highlighted that “there appear to be clear tensions between the framework and the Internal Market Bill as currently drafted”, making it difficult to understand how the framework will operate in practice.

Third, the Committee raised concerns that the Provisional Framework does not sufficiently account for the Northern Ireland Protocol, despite this meaning that EU nutrition rules will continue to apply to Northern Ireland.

The Committee recommends that the annual report on the NLCS Policy Group should be shared with the UK Parliament and devolved legislatures, not just ministers, to “ensure an appropriate degree of transparency of the development of UK nutrition rules after the end of the transition period” and facilitate parliamentary scrutiny.

The letter is part of ongoing correspondence between the Committee and the Minister for Health. The Committee Chair, Baroness Andrews, previously wrote to the minister about the NLCS framework on 20 October and received a reply on 2 November.

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