UK announces plans for 'Brexit Freedoms Bill' to scrap EU laws and cut £1bn in red tape

Mon 31 Jan 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

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The prime minister is using the second anniversary of the UK leaving the EU to promise new legislation that will pave the way for the removal of “outdated” EU rules.

Boris Johnson said the plans would “unleash the benefits of Brexit”, cutting red tape for businesses to allow them to invest in innovation and to create jobs.

“Our new Brexit Freedoms Bill will end the special status of EU law in our legal framework and ensure that we can more easily amend or remove outdated EU law in future,” Johnson said in a statement.

Speedier process

Under legislation passed in 2018, the UK has retained EU laws in its statute book following Brexit, according to the BBC.

The ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ will give ministers more power to alter retained EU laws more quickly and they will not necessarily require votes in Parliament to do so.


Writing in the Telegraph, attorney general Suella Braverman said a major cross-government drive to review and reform inherited law more quickly was underway.

“It is time we began the task of reshaping these rules in a way that suits UK consumers and businesses,” she added.

Former Brexit minister Lord Frost, launched two reviews of retained EU laws on the UK statute book late last year, according to Politico.


In a statement to the Lords in September, Frost highlighted areas of possible reform, including the “burdensome” EU GDPR data rules, genetic modification, clinical trials, transportation, and AI.

According to the Guardian, the government claims the plans could cut £1bn in red tape expenses for businesses.

The PM did not say which regulations are intended to be repealed or enhanced, but said five principles would be applied, including the values of sovereignty and creating new markets.

Brexit costs

Critics said businesses and government have already faced billions of pounds of additional costs as a result of additional red tape due to Brexit – including the requirement to complete customs declarations.

Downing Street said the changes would build on others since Brexit, such as simplifying alcohol duties, scrapping VAT on tampons, and creating a new subsidies regime.

Divided UK

The plans have been criticised by the devolved administrations, with the Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for the constitution, Angus Robertson, saying the bill would “undermine devolution”.

Mick Antoniw, the Welsh minister for the constitution, said London was driving a “coach and horses through the concept of mutual consent”.