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Government ‘U-turns’ on plans to scrap EU laws

May 11, 2023
Employment Law

Rumours have been circulating for a few weeks. Now, the government has confirmed its intention to materially water down its plans to scrap thousands of EU laws by the end of this year.

What's this all about?

At our recent Employment Law Update Seminar, we talked to delegates about the Government’s plans to repeal thousands of pieces of EU law by the end of this year. As we understood it, by 31 December 2023, all EU regulations (up to 4,000 of them) would be repealed entirely unless the government decided to:

  • Convert individual sets of regulations into UK law; or
  • Retain them for now, but with the prospect of repealing them at some point prior to 23 June 2026.

However, in a recent article published in the Financial Times, it was reported that the Government was thinking of changing its approach. The alleged ‘U-turn’ was apparently a response to concerns raised by various bodies, including both trade unions and business groups.

Now, in a written statement issued on 10 May 2023, Kemi Badenoch (the Business Secretary) has confirmed the change in direction. Rather than all EU regulations being scrapped unless expressly preserved, the Government plans to scrap 600 specific sets of regulations, with all remaining EU laws being reviewed in a variety of other ways.  

This change in approach will undoubtedly prove to be very controversial. A ‘bonfire’ of EU regulations was seen by some as evidence of the UK taking advantage of the opportunity to diverge from the EU regulatory regime and seize a competitive advantage. Of course, many others (including The Law Society and The Bar Council) had urged the government to take a much more gradual approach, given concerns about the prospect of us inadvertently throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Is that all clear?

This issue is likely to remain a significant talking point over the coming months, as the government confirms in more detail which regulations will be scrapped by the end of this year and how it intends to address the remaining EU laws still in place. We will continue to cover this issue, as and when interesting developments occur.  

For now, if you want to read more, take a look at the BBC article available here.

You can also read more about the Law Society’s position here.

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