Posted: Mon 31st Jan 2022
Prime minister minister Boris Johnson has announced the introduction of a "Brexit Freedoms" Bill which will make it easier to amend or remove European Union laws still in force in the UK.
Unveiled on the second anniversary of Britain officially leaving the EU, Downing Street says the move will slash £1bn of red tape for businesses and improve regulation.
Following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, many EU laws remained on the UK statute book as a bridging measure. The government said that current rules mean reforming and repealing "outdated" EU laws that are "not beneficial to the UK" would take several years, but the new Bill will make it easier and quicker.
"There are things we can do differently and we think in a way that will encourage business to invest even more,” Johnson said in an pooled interview with broadcasters.
"In all the areas where the UK is strong – cyber, artificial intelligence, all the cutting-edge technologies of the future – we are going to make sure we do things differently and better, where appropriate.
"We won't diverge for the sake of it but we are going to make sure this the number one place to do business and invest because of the freedoms that we have."
What are the benefits of Brexit?
The government has not yet named the exact laws it intends to change, but in a new policy document, The Benefits of Brexit: how the UK is taking advantage of leaving the EU, it says examples of actions Britain has taken as a result of Brexit include moves to simplify alcohol duties announced in last autumn's Budget and removing 5% VAT on sanitary products which is mandated by the EU.
The impact of Brexit on UK businesses
Today's announcement comes amid continuing reports that businesses trading with the EU are struggling to deal with new red tape as a result of Brexit. There are long queues of lorries at Dover which firms say is due to the new requirement to submit full customs declarations before goods can be transported to the EU.
The government however has said another reason is to blame.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere told the Transport Select Committee: "[The queues] are actually due to the fact that there are three ships being refitted at the moment. That is why Dover TAP is currently on. Our view is that the delay in Dover is not due to border checks."
The Dover TAP is a temporary system aimed at preventing a build up of lorry traffic.