Table of responsibilities

The following table gives a rough overview of the division of power between the EU and the national and local governments in the UK. It sets out a list of typical responsibilities of the UK government, such as education, agriculture, and the environment, and shows in more detail the specific responsibilities that the UK government has delegated 'up' (UP) to the EU and 'down' (DOWN) to the local authorities.

Although most parts of England have a 2-tier local government system, which divides responsibilities between district councils and county councils, the local tier of the table summarizes their responsibilities under the 1 heading. Since hundreds of EU laws affect a wide range of subjects, the table lists only a fraction of EU law. Also, the table provides only an overview of the typical responsibilities of the UK 'national' government, since EU legislation intertwines a lot with UK law. We could not, therefore, clearly separate specific EU responsibilities from the remaining UK 'national only' responsibilities. Finally, the subjects listed under the 'national' and 'local' headings comprise only the responsibilities for England. The table excludes the delegated responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly and their respective local authorities.

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National responsibilities

Responsibilities delegated ‘up’ (UP) to EU and ‘down’ (DOWN) to local authorities

Agriculture

UP EU

Rural development; protection of geographical indications and designation of origin for agricultural products; genetically modified (GM) plants and seeds; organic farming; plant health; aquaculture

Animal health and welfare

UP EU

Prevention and control of animal disease; trade and import of live animals and animal products; protection of animals kept for farming purposes; animal transport rules; animal nutrition; protection of animals during time of slaughter and killing; zootechnics

DOWN Local

Prosecution of offenses under Animal Welfare Act 2006; inspections on premises; licensing and registration of animals

Building and planning

DOWN Local

Building control services; local development framework; planning permission

Civil protection and security and intelligence

UP EU

Police cooperation (Europol)

DOWN Local

Emergency planning; fire safety

Companies

UP EU

European Company (SE); cross-border mergers; formation of public limited liability companies

Competition

UP EU

Antitrust rules; mergers; cartels; liberalization: electricity and gas, postal services, and telecommunications; State aid control

Culture

UP EU

Conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage of European significance; export of cultural goods; return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State

DOWN Local

Statement of gambling policy; markets; festivals; local museum and art galleries; exhibitions; premises and alcohol licensing: sale and supply of alcohol, provision of regulated entertainment, and provision of late night refreshment

Economic and financial affairs

UP EU

Industries: eg, pharmaceuticals; biotechnology; automotive; food; information and communication technologies; textiles; cosmetics; internal Market: eg, free movement of goods and services; free movement of people and workers; free movement of capital; community custom code; equal treatment for men and women; consumer protection; data protection; protection of workers; television; electronic commerce; energy; quality of petrol and diesel fuels; marketing

DOWN Local

Trading standards: business support and advice, consumer advice and protection; business research and analysis; venues; enforcing health and safety law; tourism; council tax; business rates

Education

UP EU

Recognition of professional education and training; recognition of professional qualifications

DOWN Local

Schools; local libraries; adult education

Employment

UP EU

Anti-discrimination: racial equality, equal treatment in employment and occupation, sex (gender) discrimination; European Works Council; collective redundancies; employer insolvency; part-time work; working time; protection of young people at work; information on individual employment conditions

Environment

UP EU

Air quality/Air Pollution: Industrial Emissions, Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC); motor vehicle emissions; roadworthiness of vehicles; quality of petrol and diesel fuels; waste incineration plants; large combustion plants; national emission ceilings; biotechnology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs); environmental impact assessment; biodiversity; registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals (REACH); pesticides: plant production products, biocides; marine pollution; chemical accidents; emission trading; ozone layer protection; eco-label scheme; noise: road traffic noise, aircraft noise, railway noise; waste: batteries, biodegradable waste, packaging and packaging waste, electrical and electronic equipment waste; water: framework on water policy and protection, quality of drinking water, quality of bathing water, urban waste water, nitrates pollution; energy

DOWN Local

waste management; recycling; pollution control: air pollution, local air quality management; water pollution; land pollution; noise pollution; regulation of pollution from certain industrial activities; pest control services; biodiversity action plans; parks and local nature reserves; wildlife management and projects; management of historic environment; conservation programs; allotments; fire service

Family and social services

UP EU

Free movement of EU citizens and their family members; coordination of social security systems; pension funds

DOWN Local

Childcare; youth and play services; adoption; fostering services; recreation facilities: sport facilities, clubs and leisure centers, swimming pools; registration services: births, marriages, deaths; civic services; social care and welfare services: social work, social workers, homelessness services, housing services, housing benefits, funerals, services for older and disabled people, home care, care homes, occupational therapy

Foreign affairs

UP EU

External trade (exports and imports); international agreements; humanitarian aid; multilateral relations

Health

 

UP EU

Food quality and safety: food nutrition labeling, health and nutrition claims, natural mineral waters, food supplements, dietary foods, infants and young children’s food, genetically modified (GM) food and feed, chemical substances, food hygiene, food controls, animal nutrition; European health insurance card; medicinal products for human use; tobacco control; medical devices; standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage, and distribution of human tissues and cells; European centre for disease prevention and control

DOWN Local

Public Health Services: food safety and hygiene inspections; dog warden services; animal health and welfare; strategies against substance abuse

Information technology

UP EU

Electronic communications networks and services: general framework; authorization and licensing: access and interconnection, privacy, universal service and user’s rights; electronic signatures; implementation of the .eu top level domain; radio local area networks

Infrastructure and traffic

DOWN Local

Maintaining, improving, and managing of public roads and highways, pavements, cycle lanes; traffic management; street parking; car parks; street lights; traffic lights; parking meters; parking fines; disabled parking; road safety

 

Intellectual property (IP)

UP EU

Copyright; designs; trademarks; biotechnological inventions; plant varieties; enforcement of IP rights

Justice

UP EU

Court of Justice of the European Communities; Judicial cooperation in civil matters and criminal matters; compensation of crime victims

Money and currency

Rural affairs, rural communities and local government

UP EU

Regional policy; European Regional Development Fund; European Social Fund

Security and defense policy

Transport

UP EU

EU driving license; air transport; carriage of goods by road; carriage of passengers by coach and bus; transport of dangerous goods by road; roadworthiness tests; railway infrastructure and safety

DOWN Local

Public transport; community transport

Visa, asylum, immigration, and border controls

Table 41: Table of governmental responsibilities (UK)

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