UK plans to ‘sunset’ EU laws after Brexit ‘not fit for purpose’ |  Brexit

UK plans to ‘sunset’ EU laws after Brexit ‘not fit for purpose’ | Brexit

Plans to scrap EU-derived laws after Brexit have been called “not fit for purpose” by the government’s own independent assessor.

Under new legislation which was the brainchild of former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, thousands of laws copied from the EU onto the UK statute book will be “sunset” by the end of next year if they are not all signed off by ministers to be kept.

These include legislation on workers’ rights, such as directives on maximum working hours and maternity pay, and habitat protection that saves endangered species from development threats.

The Retained EU Bill (REUL), which threatens up to 4,000 pieces of legislation, has previously been described as “reckless” by legal experts who say it is poorly designed and gives unprecedented powers to ministers to personally decide which laws should remain and which should go.

The bill has been criticized by legal experts, who have said it gives ministers unprecedented and “undemocratic” powers to make or drop laws without consultation.

Unions, worried it could trigger a wave of deregulation of workers’ rights, say it is a “countdown to disaster”, while Greens MP Caroline Lucas told MPs the bill was irresponsible and “ideologically driven”.

The government’s independent regulatory watchdog, the
regulatory policy committee (RPC), has looked at the impact assessment for the plans and described it as “not fit for purpose”.

“The Bill proposes that more than 2,400 pieces of retained EU legislation (REUL) be phased out on 31 December 2023, unless a departmental review before then proposes retention of, or changes to, the legislation, or postpones sunset until 2026,” it said. report.

“No impacts of changes to individual parts of the REUL have been considered at this stage. We asked the Department to commit to considering the impact of amended and lapsed legislation, for RPC scrutiny in the future, but the Department has not committed to doing the.”

It suggests the government has not addressed the impact of winding down these laws on those who will be affected by them, explaining: “As the independent Better Regulation watchdog, it is our view that those affected by regulatory changes should reasonably expect the government properly assesses the effects of such changes.

“We are not confident that the impact of amending or repealing each piece of the REUL will be calculated or understood under proposals that are in place – particularly where no related secondary legislation is required.”

The watchdog has also criticized the sunset clause, which provides a deadline for all laws to be reviewed and then either changed, rejected or retained. It says the government has not provided sufficient reasoning behind the decision to put this deadline in place.

The assessment reads: “[The government] must provide a stronger case for why the sunset of the REUL is necessary, as opposed to simply setting a deadline for completing the review and amendment of the REUL, including appropriate and robust evidence to support that position.”

Alice Hardiman, the RSPB’s head of policy in England, said: “We have been saying for months that the retained EU Bill is not fit for purpose and now the UK Government’s own Regulatory Policy Committee is saying the same. The far-reaching and devastating environmental implications of this ill-conceived legislation would affect so many areas of our lives that the government should do the decent thing and withdraw it now.”

A spokesperson for the government said: “The Regulatory Policy Committee’s assessment of our impact assessment for the retained EU bill is disappointing, but in line with assessments of many other bills. Naturally, with the enormous scope of the freedoms this bill will provide, and the various sectors and departments it involves, it is difficult to quantify the consequences in the impact assessment at the present time.

“The Government is committed to taking full advantage of the benefits of Brexit, which is why we are pushing ahead with our Remain EU Bill, which will end the special legal status of all retained EU law. This will allow us to ensure that our laws and regulations are best suited to the country’s needs, removing unnecessary red tape to support jobs, while maintaining important protections and safeguards.”

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