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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

RE: Will the Joint Committee on Human Rights legislatively scrutinize HM Treasury's Spending Round 2013?

Dear Mr Miller,

The Joint Committee at present has no plans to conduct an inquiry into the human rights aspects of the Spending Review.  It is aware of some of the human rights issues raised by this Review (as it was also with the 2010 Review); but resources to conduct such an extensive inquiry cannot be spared from the programme of legislative and other scrutiny that the Committee is already carrying out.  The Committee considers its principal function to be the human rights parliamentary scrutiny of Government legislation.   The Spending Review will itself not be contained in a Government Bill.  As you will be aware, some of what has been announced in the Review will, however, at least indirectly, come through both Houses in Bills which the Committee will consider and comment upon.

Some aspects of the 2010 Review were covered in the Committee’s Reports on Independent Living and the Welfare Reform Bill, and members of the Committee involved in that inquiry are still keeping a close eye on related developments.

You will no doubt be aware that the EHRC conducted an examination of the 2010 Review:
I do not know if it intends to conduct anything similar with regard to the Government’s most recent announcements.

In terms of the various departmental budgets announced in the Review, Parliament (the Commons, at least) will have a chance to consider and approve them (or not), both in the form of the departmental Main Estimates (there is a technical difference between budgets and Estimates which I will not set out here) and in the Winter and Spring Supplementary Estimates which will follow over this financial year) and in terms of some of the legislation this (and next) Session which will carry some of the provisions which will inflict, or result from, the proposed cuts.

I hope this is a helpful response  Please feel free to forward it the senior UN officials you mention.

Yours Sincerely,

Mike Hennessy

Michael Hennessy,
Commons Clerk,
Joint Committee on Human Rights,
020 7219 2797

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