11 May 2023

The government has tabled amendments to the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REUL Bill). The deadline for planning to mass delete EU-era laws at the end of the year has been scrapped. Instead of automatically repealing all retained EU law before the end of 2023, now around 600 pieces of legislation are expected to be revoked.

The REUL Bill proposes to revoke certain retained EU law and the Lords report stage begins on 15 May 2023. The current amendments being made by the government have been suggested in response to feedback from businesses and other organisations.

Alongside this, the government is publishing a paper ‘Smarter regulation to grow the economy’, which is the first in a series of updates on how sectors across the UK economy are being reformed. It sets out an ambitious programme of reform to reduce overall regulatory burden, maximise innovation /  growth and support UK businesses and consumers. A copy of this report can be found here.

Business secretary, Kemi Badenoch said:

“Getting rid of EU law in the UK should be about more than a race to a deadline.

“I have listened to the concerns of business of all sizes and have made it a priority to tackle the red tape that holds back UK firms, reduces their competitiveness in global markets and hampers their growth.’’

REUL Bill and programme update

Around 500 EU laws covering financial services had been exempted from the deadline, as they’re due to be repealed by a separate Bill making its way through the Commons. The same is expected for EU legislation affecting value added tax (VAT) and customs. However, as the Bill is currently drafted, almost all REUL is automatically revoked at the end of 2023, unless a statutory instrument is passed to preserve it.

The government has already reformed or revoked over 1,000 pieces of REUL. In addition to the list of around 600 coming in the Bill, the Financial Services and Markets Bill and the Procurement Bill will repeal around 500 pieces of REUL. This new approach will aim to replace the current ‘sunset clause’ in the Bill with a list of all the EU laws intended to be revoked under the Bill at the end of 2023. The government believes this will provide certainty for business and other organisations by making it clear which regulations will be removed from the statute book.

The government states:

‘‘We will retain the vitally important powers in the Bill that allow us to continue to amend REUL, so more complex regulation can still be revoked or reformed after proper assessment and consultation. This will ensure ministers and officials are freed up to focus more on reforming REUL, and doing that faster.’’

REUL dashboard

The REUL dashboard (first published on 22 June 2022) has been updated. The dashboard provides the name, type and territorial extent of each piece of REUL. The dashboard also provides an overview of the percentages of REUL which have already been amended, repealed or replaced. The data used to populate the dashboard is available here.

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