LONDON: The government has announced that all retained EU laws will be sunset on 31 December 2023, enabling the UK to create regulations tailor-made for its people.
All EU legislation will be amended, repealed, or replaced under the new Brexit Freedoms Bill introduced to Parliament today (Thursday 22 September), which will end the special legal status of all retained EU law by 2023, and give the UK the opportunity to develop new laws that best fit the needs of the country and grow the economy.
Many EU laws kept on after Brexit were agreed as part of a complex compromise between 28 different EU member states and were simply duplicated into the UK’s statute books, often not considering the UK’s own priorities or objectives.
The Brexit Freedoms Bill will enable the UK government to remove years of burdensome EU regulation in favour of a more agile, home-grown regulatory approach that benefits people and businesses across the UK. By removing these legal restraints and replacing them with what works for the UK, our businesses and economy can innovate and grow to new levels.
As a result of the bill, around £1 billion worth of red tape will be removed, giving businesses the confidence to invest and create jobs, while transforming the UK into one of the best regulated economies in the world.
The Bill is an integral step in the Prime Minister’s mission to unlock growth and will support Britain’s most entrepreneurial businesses to capitalise on the UK’s global leadership in areas like clean energy technologies, life sciences and digital services. This in turn will help to spur real-life benefits and increased living standards for the British public – from advanced healthcare treatments and faster infrastructure projects to increased environmental standards such as cleaner air.
Business Secretary, Jacob Rees Mogg said:
Now that the UK has regained its independence, we have a fantastic opportunity to do away with outdated and burdensome EU laws, and to bring forward our own regulations that are tailor-made to our country’s needs.
The Brexit Freedoms Bill will remove needless bureaucracy that prevents businesses from investing and innovating in the UK, cementing our position as a world class place to start and grow a business.
By giving the government new secondary powers to amend, replace or repeal any retained EU law, the amount of parliamentary time that is required has been dramatically reduced. They will also make it easier for departments to create agile regulation that keeps pace with technological change.
The Bill will end the special status retained EU law has on the UK statute books by 2023, meaning domestic law will be reinstated as the highest form of law on the UK’s statute book again. The most burdensome and outdated EU laws can then be amended, repealed, or replaced.
Consistent with the government’s approach to Brexit policy, the Bill will apply to the entirety of the UK, enabling joint working between the UK government and devolved administrations, and ensuring everyone can access the benefits of Brexit to stimulate economic growth, innovation, and job creation across the Union.
The government has engaged, and will continue to work, with a range of organisations and stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcome when reforming retained EU law. This ensures the UK’s high standards in areas such as workers’ rights and the environment are kept, also giving the UK the opportunity to be bolder and go further than the EU in these areas.
The Bill will maintain all commitments to the international obligations required of the UK. The Bill’s introduction will build on the significant progress the government has made since delivering Brexit on 31 January 2020, which include:
- ending free movement and taking back control of our borders – replacing freedom of movement with a points-based immigration system and making it easier to kick out foreign criminals
- restoring democratic control over our law making – giving the power to make and scrutinise the laws that apply to us back to our Parliament and the devolved legislatures so that they are now made in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London, not Brussels
- restoring the UK Supreme Court as the final arbiter of the law that applies to the UK – UK judges, sitting in UK courts, now determine all the law of the land in the UK
- securing the vaccine rollout – streamlining procurement processes and avoiding cumbersome EU bureaucracy to deliver the fastest vaccine rollout anywhere in Europe last year (2021)
- striking new free trade deals – with over 70 countries including landmark deals with Australia and New Zealand.
- capitalising on tax freedoms – including getting rid of the VAT on women’s sanitary products (the ‘Tampon Tax’), introducing VAT free installations of energy-efficient materials, working on replacing complex EU alcohol duty rates, and forging ahead to remove the ban on selling in pounds and ounces
- replacing the Common Agricultural Policy – with a system in England that will enable better environmental outcomes
- taking back control of our territorial waters – managing our fisheries and precious marine environment in a more sustainable way
- making it tougher for EU criminals to enter the UK – EU nationals sentenced to a year or more in jail will now be refused entry to the UK
- restoring fair access to our welfare system – ending the preferential treatment of EU migrants over non-EU migrants, ensuring that wherever people are born, those who choose to make the UK their home pay into a system for a reasonable period of time before they can access the benefits of it
- giving UK regulators the ability and resources to make sovereign decisions about globally significant mergers – decisions about globally significant mergers and acquisitions are now made by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, giving it the ability to block or remedy mergers it considers will harm UK consumers
- establishing a new subsidy control regime – We passed the Subsidy Control Act, which allows us to establish our own subsidy regime to support British businesses and innovation. We will have greater freedom to design subsidies which deliver both local and national objectives