Nearly three-quarters of UK companies unaware of ‘Brexit freedom’ plans

Most UK businesses have no interest in or understanding of the government’s flagship “Brexit Freedoms” plan to scrap EU regulations, according to a survey of bosses.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said nearly three-quarters of company directors were either unaware of the government’s plans or did not know the details. Nearly half of all business sectors in the survey of nearly 1,000 firms said regulation was either a low priority or not a priority at all.

William Bain, head of business policy at the BCC, which represents thousands of firms of all sizes across the country, said: “Businesses did not ask for this bill, and as our survey highlights, they are determined to comply with the rules.” Not fighting for the bonfire. For his sake.

“They don’t want to see a deviation from EU rules that makes it more difficult, expensive or impossible to export their goods and services.”

Rishi Sunak’s government is under Growing pressure from business leaders, unions and political critics To withdraw the EU Retainer Law Bill, commonly known as the Brexit Freedoms Bill.

The plan to purge a wide range of EU laws from the British statute book was a significant policy reform introduced under the short-lived premiership of Liz Truss, promoted by her Business Secretary. Jacob Rees-Mogg,

The BCC said that fewer than 4% of businesses widely understood the Brexit Freedom Bill and its potential impact on them. When asked which rules they would keep, modify or remove entirely, more than half (58%) said they had no preference.

In the survey, first reported by the New Statesman, firms were also asked whether regulation in the business areas of employment, health and safety, environment, planning and product safety regulations was a priority for them.

The results are in stark contrast to comments made by senior government figures who said sweeping regulatory changes could help UK businesses and restart the British economy.

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chancellor, jeremy hunt, argued last week that “Brexit Freedom” could help pave the way for development in key sectors. Comparing the plans to Nigel Lawson’s 1986 “Big Bang” City Reforms, he told MPs on the Treasury Committee: “We have a huge opportunity post-Brexit to set our own rules.

β€œYou can set out long-term plans for growth industries such as life sciences, technology and green industries, which attract people to come to the UK, as we use our Brexit freedoms to make things happen with forward-looking regulatory structures May it be Can’t do it in other countries.

Business groups have previously experienced tensions between their members and leadership’s views on Brexit. Before the 2016 referendum, John Longworth, the then director general of the BCC, was suspended After suggesting that the UK would be better off outside the EU despite the support of two-thirds of its members. Meanwhile, JCB chairman Lord Bamford withdrew his firm’s membership of the CBI due to the lobby group’s anti-Brexit stance.

The BCC said there was little appetite among firms for UK rules to deviate significantly from EU rules, warning that too much difference would add to company costs when businesses are already facing rising inflation. and grappling with other barriers to doing business with the European Union.

The UK copied EU laws to smooth its formal exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020. Under the bill, several thousand EU laws would automatically expire at the end of 2023 unless they are reviewed, amended, renewed or repealed.

The BCC urged ministers to extend the bill’s deadline to the end of 2026 to allow more time for consultation with firms.

William Bain said: β€œMost importantly, businesses and government need to look at the serious issues we are facing now. In the difficult 12 months ahead, we cannot afford to take any resources that are needed to keep businesses afloat in the year ahead.”

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