Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eighth Report


APPENDIX 7

Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Office

JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE (MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES) (JOINT CLAIMS:

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS) REGULATIONS (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2001 (S.I. 2001/998)

1. The Jobseeker's Allowance (Members of the Armed Forces) (Joint Claims: Consequential Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 are laid before Parliament today. They come into force on 19 March 2001 and so break the 21-day rule.

2. The Regulations mirror provisions contained in the Social Security (Joint Claims: Consequential Amendment) Regulations 2000 which apply in Great Britain, which were made on 24 July 2000 and come into force on 19 March 2001, hence the need for the Northern Ireland Regulations to come into force on 19 March too.

3. Under the arrangements for devolution in Northern Ireland contained in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 responsibility for Social Security is transferred to the Northern Ireland Assembly. But section 87 provides for consultation and co-ordination designed to achieve single systems of social security, child support and pensions for the United Kingdom.

4. The devolution arrangements have led to confusion between the Northern Ireland Office and the devolved Department for Social Development as to which department was responsible for processing the Regulations. This has resulted in the delay which gives rise to this breach of the 21-day rule.

5. The Northern Ireland Office much regrets the breach on this occasion.

16 March 2001

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Home Office Legal Adviser's Branch

JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE (MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES) (JOINT CLAIMS:

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS) REGULATIONS (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2001 (S.I. 2001/998)

1. The Committee has asked if the Department wishes to add to its earlier memorandum explaining the breach of the 21-day rule in relation to this instrument.

2. In the earlier memorandum the Department explained that the Regulations needed to come into force at the same as other legislation and that the breach resulted from a misunderstanding between the Northern Ireland Office and the devolved Northern Ireland Department as to which of them should process it.

3. It might be more accurate to say that the misunderstanding between the two Departments was a disagreement between them as to who was responsible. Save to say that the Northern Ireland Office much regrets the breach, it can add no more.

16 October 2001


 
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