Business secretary Grant Schapps has come under pressure to scrap his plans to tear up established EU rules that sit within the UK’s legislative framework over fear of ‘significant disruption’.
In a letter on 23 November, several representative groups – including the Institue of Directors, the Trade Union Congress, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and the Employment Lawyers Association – said the planned bill to end retained EU rules would automatically sweep away thousands of pieces of legislation and established legal principles”.
The contentious bill, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, has been backed by several pro-Brexit figures including former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, who argued a bonfire of EU rules would boost the UK’s economy and productivity.
The bill proposes to sunset more than 2,4000 pieces of retained EU legislation on 23 December 2023, or alternatively 2026, if a government review occurs before then and recommends the timetable be pushed back.
The latest letter from groups representing both businesses and workers argues the move would see decades of case law upended, resulting in the interpretation of the law becoming “highly uncertain and likely lead to greater reliance on the already over-stretched courts and tribunal system”.
The letter comes amid government plans to change some EU regulation that sits within financial services, relating to MiFID II equity research rules.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the government would announce changes to EU regulations in five growth areas, including financial services, “by the end of next year”. However, a person close to the plan said the government hoped to unveil a broader growth package for the City, including some reforms to rules inherited from the EU, much sooner, Financial News revealed.
They also warn of the risk that the move would put the UK in breach of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement with the EU and possibly result in additional tariffs hurting UK exporters and those who work for them.
“It is unclear how the UK’s governments and parliaments will cope with the vast amount of legislation this will involve being rushed through before the end of next year. There is a huge risk of poor or potentially detrimental law entering the statute book,” the letter states.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy was contacted for comment.
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