A PROPOSED new law could risk “excluding” the Scottish government from making decisions about subsidies for businesses in Scotland, warned the SNP – as Plaid Cymru called it “taking power”.
The Subsidy Control Act lays down new rules for the allocation of subsidies after Brexit.
As MPs were scrutinizing the law, SNP shadow economy spokeswoman Kirsty Blackman said: “Given that the decentralized administrations have delegated powers, there have laws that fall within their jurisdiction, it makes no sense to be rationalized Subsidy schemes can only be made by the UK Government Foreign Secretary. ”
She tabled an amendment calling on lower-level governments to share in the new powers, adding: “We are not calling for the limits of delegated competences to be exceeded, we are only calling for equality with the possibility for decentralized administrations, streamlined subsidies to be paid. “Schemes.”
The Aberdeen North MP warned that not naming decentralized administrations as “interested parties” in the new regime could prevent them from challenging UK government-monitored subsidies that are negatively affecting regions under their control.
She said: “I do not think the government intends to exclude the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government or the Northern Irish Assembly from these challenges, but I think the bill is written unruly enough.” that it may accidentally exclude them. ”
Blackman also warned that a new database for grant recipients may not result in “transparent” records.
She labeled a proposed database of subsidies for companies as “junk” and added her doubts that it would be the responsibility of companies, not the government or local councils, to keep certain records of money allocations.
Blackman said, “There is no obligation on you to be transparent about this record. You have to keep it, but you have to share it. ”
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster chief Liz Saville Roberts said: “This bill is an attack on decentralization that deliberately ignores the needs of the UK economies or the role of public authorities in promoting them.”
She described it as “yet another seizure of power that undermines not only decentralization but also the leveling project that this government is said to be so eager to promote”.
Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP said: “It speaks for an unconstructive disdain for the rights and duties of the decentralized nations of this government.”
She called for “a more cooperative and informed subsidy regime”.
The government needed a “British” subsidy system to prevent “harmful distortions of competition”, said a minister after he was accused of having taken power over corporate grants from decentralized governments.
Economy Secretary Paul Scully told MPs: “The UK Government has been involved with the decentralized administrations on a regular basis in shaping the UK Subsidy Control Act and we will continue to listen carefully to their views.
“It is important to reiterate that the law on subsidy control is reserved for this Parliament. Because we need a British regulation in order to prevent harmful distortions of competition and to make it easier to comply with our international obligations. ”
He added: “The Secretary of State will act in the interests of all parts of the UK.”
Scully also reassured MPs about the transparency of a proposed subsidy database, saying, “I take this issue really seriously and I want to acknowledge that my department is working on a program to improve the subsidy database.”
After Scully finished her speech, MPs voted 292-31 with a majority of 261 against an SNP amendment that would have exempted agricultural subsidies from the bill’s new rules.