Report of the Director of Markets and Consumer Protection.
The Committee considered a report by the Director of Markets and Consumer Protection on the key issues and implications for the Port Health and Public Protection Division. The report referred to an independent report that was commissioned to examine the impact of Brexit on the Division. The Director of Markets and Consumer Protection further advised that since the report had been commissioned, there had been further reports released by government.
Members thanked Officers for putting together such a comprehensive report in response to a request for further information earlier in the year.
During discussion the following points were raised:
· Members asked whether there were sufficient dedicated resources to monitor Brexit issues, as per the recommendation within the report.
· Whether the suggested date of March 2018 for the resilience plan was too late for some elements.
· There are seven Official Veterinarians employed by the Corporation and all are nationals of other EU Member States, a Member noted the increased number of EU nationals leaving the UK and raised concerns on the impact this would have should the Veterinarians choose to leave.
· Members noted that all stakeholders are preparing for Brexit, however HMRC has set regulations which would take time to implement should changes occur and it was important to ensure the resilience plan and other checks are in place in these uncertain times.
· Members noted that it would be helpful to receive a communications briefing from the Remembrancer on the party conferences and additional information in relation to Brexit.
In response to the queries raised by Members, the Director of Markets and Consumer Protection confirmed that:
· Cross-collaboration had taken place with other Departments across the City Corporation to ensure that Officers are prepared and further resources would be required.
· There are concerns on what will happen in terms of resilience planning and this area will be given further consideration. Following the progress report due in March 2018, the Department would look further at what will need to be done for the Port Health Authority.
· Officers have been consulting with trade and other associations to look at the implications of Brexit and these talks are ongoing. The Chairman of Policy and Resources has been kept updated with briefings from the Remembrancer’s Department and the Director of Markets and Consumer Protection will liaise with the Remembrancer to provide a communications briefing for the Committee.
RESOLVED – That:
a) the report commissioned by the City Corporation and listed in Appendix 3 should be pursued in more detail, and a progress report provided in March 2018; and
b) the following key principles should form the basis of negotiations with government and relevant agencies with regard to the functions undertaken by Port Health and Public Protection:
i. the same, or an improved, level of consumer protection should be sought for public, animal and environmental health in terms of any proposed changes to regulatory controls after the UK leaves the EU; and
ii. any changes to the current legislation should be commensurate with the risk posed by different activities and trades, as it is recognised that some enforcement requirements could be streamlined.
c) the UK should continue to recognise EU controls in order to avoid resourcing implications at the UK border; and this would best be done as part of a reciprocal agreement with mutual recognition, as this would be more sustainable politically, promote regulatory alignment, and facilitate UKEU trade;
d) full cost recovery for local authorities and port health authorities to enforce relevant legislation is essential, and this should be extended to include those areas not already covered, particularly if they have to undertake additional controls as a result of Brexit;
e) the current checks at UK and EU borders on third country imports should be maintained to facilitate free movement of goods within the EU, and between the EU and the UK, and the UK should maintain access to existing IT and rapid alert arrangements; and
f) a communications briefing on Brexit with input from the Remembrancer would be provided to the Committee.