Mick Antoniw MS, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution
The First Minister and I represented the Welsh Government at the second meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee (IMSC) on 29th June. We were joined by the Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans MS, and the Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS, for the Cost of Living discussion.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery John Swinney MSP chaired this virtual Standing Committee meeting on behalf of the Scottish Government.
A joint communique was published following the meeting and contains full details of other attendees. Among the items on the agenda were: current UK Parliament legislative programme; the rise in the cost of living and the progress on establishing Inter-ministerial Groups (IMGs) to date.
Concerning the agenda item on the current UK legislative programme, whilst we welcomed the positive progress made towards agreeing improved ways of working and engagement, I once again highlighted the unacceptable previous breaches of the Sewel Convention and unacceptable engagement from the UK Government on a number of Bills in the current legislative programme including the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill and Bill of Rights. In doing so I underlined the importance of early engagement on future UK Bills and called on the UK Government to provide assurances they would respect the Sewel Convention,.
In relation to the Cost of Living item, discussions included the measures recently announced by the UK Government and common challenges faced across the UK Government and Devolved Governments. This item gave the opportunity for Welsh Ministers to emphasise the importance of constructive discussions around our shared responsibility for ensuring a resilient labour market, the importance of supporting households and businesses and the need for a more concentrated focus on long-term challenges.
Ministers noted the progress on establishing IMGs to date, and a forward look for IMSC meetings. The next IMSC is scheduled to be held in September and will be chaired by the Welsh Government, in line with rotating chair arrangements.