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Balance of Competences

Volume 563: debated on Thursday 16 May 2013

My hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and I wish to inform both Houses that following our right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ oral statement launching the review of the balance of competences in July 2012 and written statement on the progress of the review in October 2012, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, HM Revenue and Customs and the Intellectual Property Office are publishing their calls for evidence.

The review of the internal market: free movement of goods is being jointly led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Intellectual Property Office, (IPO), with HMRC taking a lead co-ordinating role. The review will consider the balance of competence over intra-EU trade in goods, the customs union and the protection of intellectual property.

The review of trade and investment is being led by BIS and will consider external trade (third country trade) and investment. However, given that trade in goods is a major theme for both reviews, the review teams will be co-ordinating their reviews closely.

The research and development review will cover research, technological development and space. As innovation is closely related to research and technological development, it will fall within the scope of this review.

The call for evidence period will last 12 weeks, from 16 May 2013 to 6 August 2013 and officials will draw together the evidence and policy analysis into draft reports, which will subsequently go through a process of scrutiny before publication in December 2013.

BIS, IPO and HMRC will take a rigorous approach to the collection and analysis of evidence. Each call for evidence sets out the scope of the report and includes a series of broad questions on which contributors are asked to focus. Interested parties are invited to provide evidence with regard to political, economic, social and technological factors. The evidence received (subject to the provision of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the final reports in December 2013 and will be available on the Government website

The Departments will pursue an active engagement process, consulting widely across Parliament and its Committees, businesses, the devolved Administrations and civil society in order to obtain evidence to contribute to our analysis of the issues. Our EU partners and the EU institutions will also be invited to contribute evidence to the reviews. As the reviews are to be objective and evidence based, we are encouraging a wide range of interested parties and individuals to contribute.

The results of the reports will be a comprehensive, thorough and detailed analysis. It will aid our understanding of the nature of our EU membership and it will provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and improving the EU. The reports will not produce specific policy recommendations.

The calls for evidence documents are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses. They are also published and available on the Government website: