Retained EU Law Bill: what it means

Sets out the risks that the Scottish Government believes are posed by the UK Government’s Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, currently being considered by the UK Parliament.

Business and trade

Businesses have experienced a lot of change in the last few years because of Brexit, with an array of different obligations now on them. This often makes it more challenging to sell into international markets with different requirements and standards.

The Retained EU Law Bill will add to this burden of work, as well as creating the possibility that businesses will have to adhere to divergent standards within the UK. This will lead to a lack of certainty that businesses need in order to work, plan and trade effectively.

The Bill poses the following risks:

  • businesses could face a scenario in which the Internal Market Act undermines law in Scotland that requires high standards. This could occur if the UK Government chooses to sunset or amend, and deregulate, in areas such as food standards, while Devolved Governments choose to preserve the higher standards in retained EU law.
  • it could breach the free trade agreement signed with the EU in 2020, which would negatively affect UK businesses at an already difficult time. This was recognised by European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič at the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly in early November: “divergence will carry even more cost and will further deepen the barriers to trade between the EU and the UK…. divergence means more friction and less trade – simple as that. And again, this in times of severe economic strains”.

Institute for Directors

"Such a review is likely to create a huge amount of uncertainty around the regulatory framework navigated by business. This is the last thing that business needs in such a fragile economic environment”.

Federation of Small Businesses

“Among widespread economic instability and rampant inflation, changes to the regulatory environment for small firms must be carefully weighed up so as not to add an extra burden to already very difficult trading conditions”.

Law Society of Scotland

“We are concerned that the process of moving from the “maximum certainty” of REUL to domestic provisions in such a short time could result in less certainty and more confusion with consequent adverse impact on individuals and businesses affected”.

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