Exiting the EU and Devolution

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2018 National Delegate Conference
5 February 2018

Conference welcomes UNISON’s priorities in our Exiting the EU campaign that seeks to inform and engage members and the general public on the impact of the EU exit negotiations. This strategy recognises the importance of addressing all devolved issues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Conference recognises that exiting the EU can have a differential impact in devolved administrations. Scotland has particular demographic challenges that may require a different approach to migration policy to other areas of the UK. For that reason, UNISON Scotland has been working with the Scottish Government and others to highlight the threat to public services of the UK Government’s approach to the negotiations. In particular, the case has been made for the devolution of elements of immigration policy, building on international models such as those in the Province of Quebec, Canada.

Conference welcomes the submissions made by UNISON at UK level and in the devolved administrations over the devolved issues in the EU Withdrawal Bill. These representations respect the devolution settlements that are being undermined by the UK government’s attempts to retain devolved powers at Westminster. UNISON is not opposed to common frameworks in the UK, so long as they start from the position of respecting devolution. This means that any powers that are not specifically reserved should be automatically devolved in accordance with the relevant legislation.

Conference therefore calls on the National Executive Council to work closely with UNISON regions in the devolved administrations, as the EU exit negotiations and related legislation develops. This approach should ensure that UNISON is campaigning for an outcome that respects the devolution settlement and reflects the particular challenges facing different parts of the UK.