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‘A recipe for bad lawmaking’ — company bosses slam ‘Brexit bonfire’ bill as poll shows support for stability

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is currently in the Lords (PA) (PA Wire)
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is currently in the Lords (PA) (PA Wire)

A bonfire of EU laws is likely to create more problems than it would solve, according to an Institute of Directors (IoD) survey.

A poll of 949 company bosses asked which policy area offered the greatest opportunity for the UK to “reduce the regulatory burden” of EU law.

However, most respondents who gave an answer said there was no such policy area. When excluding the 8% who said they didn’t know, 51% said their “preference is for regulatory stability in the current framework”.

This compared to just over one in five respondents who mentioned employment regulation, while one in eight cited financial services regulation. The Financial Conduct Authority announced plans to streamline many UK financial regulations last night, in order to make London listings more attractive.

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Environmental regulations and health and safety regulations were both mentioned by around 5% of respondents who gave an answer.

“The speed at which government intends to review retained EU law is a recipe for bad law-making,” said Dr. Roger Barker, director of policy at the Institute of Directors. “Rules and regulations across a range of business-relevant areas could be changed or removed without the normal processes of parliamentary scrutiny or stakeholder consultation.

“This gives rise to a level of regulatory uncertainty which is extremely unhelpful for business.

The IoD poll also found that four in five IoD members were at least “somewhat” aware of the EU Retained Law Bill - which would scrap most EU laws that are still on the books in the UK - and what it covers.

“Our polling also demonstrates that there is a surprisingly high level of awareness amongst business leaders of the Bill,” Barker said. “Far from being an arcane piece of post-Brexit adjustment, our members are very aware of the uncertainty it implies. And they are concerned about what they see.

The IoD boss added that it would make much more sense to simply review existing regulations - both domestic and derived from Brussels - and scrap those that are not needed while keeping those that are.

“Ideally, we would like to see this Bill dropped, and the process of regulatory reform pursued in a less politicised manner,” he said. “No distinction should be made between reforming regulations which have been retained from the EU or which derive from domestic legislation.

“Both types of law should be assessed on their merits and with regard to overcoming the specific challenges facing business.”