Business and pressure groups urge government to ditch 'Brexit bonfire'

Thu 24 Nov 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

UK Brexit bonfire - TUC, IoD and others call for rethink

An alliance of business, legal, worker and environmental groups are pressuring the government to drop its plans for a ‘bonfire’ of EU-derived regulations by the end of next year.

More than a dozen organisations – including the Institute of Directors (IoD), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – have written to business secretary, Grant Shapps, saying such a move would “cause significant confusion and disruption”.

Backers of the Retained EU Law Bill claim it will deliver a “productivity boost” for Britain, but opponents believe the law will lead to greater uncertainty, at a time when the UK faces rising inflation and energy prices, according to the FT.

Burden on business

Roger Barker, director of policy and governance at the IoD, said: “Getting to grips with any resulting regulatory changes will impose a major new burden on business which it could well do without.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady called for the legislation to be withdrawn before it caused lasting damage.

“This bill has been rushed through with no consultation and no real thought for the impacts on workers, businesses, consumers and the environment,” she said.

Process

The Times reports comments from Nick von Westenholz, director of trade at the National Farmers’ Union, that while the farming industry supports a review of EU-derived laws there is no desire to se the process rushed.

“The unnecessarily tight deadlines that flow from the sunset clauses, and the sweeping legislative powers that will be given to ministers without proper parliamentary oversight, are very worrying,” he said.

As covered in the IOE&IT Daily Update, a government regulator previously upbraided the Department of Energy and Industrial Strategy’s assessment of the cost to business of the EU regulatory overhaul, and labelled aspects of the bill, such as monitoring and evaluation, as “very weak”.

Sunak’s pivot

The calls come as prime minister Rishi Sunak begins to rebuild his relationship with the EU.

According to Politico’s Paul Taylor, Sunak has sent clear signals that he wants a more constructive relationship with Brussels and Paris and is keen to maintain steady economic relations with the UK’s largest economic partner.

Sunak has already signed up to an EU defence initiative and moved towards a possible compromise on the Northern Ireland protocol.