Calls grow for bonfire of EU laws to be doused

A coalition of business and environmental groups has urged the government to abandon plans to scrap EU laws by the end of next year.

In a letter to business secretary Grant Shapps the group that includes the Institute of Directors, Trades Union Congress, Greener UK and Wildlife and Countryside Link warned the move would “cause significant confusion and disruption” for businesses, workers, consumers and conservationists, the FT reported.

In September, then business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg set out plans to remove all remaining EU laws, including environmental regulations, by December 31st 2023 under the retained EU law (revocation and reform) bill. This included a sunset clause whereby EU-derived laws that had not been explicitly reviewed or revoked would automatically leave the UK statute book at the end of 2023.

Green NGOs were left angry by plans which would require Defra officials alone to review 570 pieces of law in under 18 months, while Food Standards Agency chair Susan Jebb warned about the “profound implications for public health and businesses alike” of ‘sunsetting’ laws that govern food standards and public health.

In their letter to Shapps, the group of more than a dozen organisations warned that ditching EU laws would create further business uncertainty as they battle against severe economic headwinds. They also warned of a “huge risk of poor or potentially detrimental law entering the statute book”.

Meanwhile, CBI director general Tony Danker used his speech at the CBI annual conference to urge the government to unlock its Brexit deal to help grow the economy. “Still, we argue over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Still, we argue over sovereignty. Get round the table; do the deal; unlock the TCA (trade and cooperation agreement),” said Danker.

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