MLAs warned about risk of trivergence

Were at least 30 MLAs at Stormont to decide to apply the Stormont brake mechanism, it could lead to a scenario where NI is left applying laws that are different to both the EU and Britain, members of a new Stormont Democratic Scrutiny Committee have been warned.

The Stormont brake was included as part of the Windsor Framework agreement between the EU and UK government in 2023 and is designed to give MLAs the power to object to new EU laws that apply in NI.

But if the brake is pulled, at that point the new EU law would not apply. Assuming Britain has already diverged from the EU, it potentially leaves NI retaining a previous EU law that no-one else has.

U-turn on tax status of double cab pickups

The UK government has withdrawn new guidance on the tax status of double cab pick-ups (DCPUs) following pressure from the farming lobby and vehicle manufacturers.

Last week, it was announced that from July 2024, DCPUs with a payload over one tonne will no longer be treated as commercial vehicles and will therefore lose the capital allowances which can be used against tax bills.

A week later, on Monday 19 February, the UK government announced a U turn with the guidance effectively scrapped.

“DCPUs will continue to be treated as goods vehicles rather than cars, and businesses and individuals can continue to benefit from its historic tax treatment,” the UK government said.