EEF, the manufacturers organisation, said businesses must be given assurances that there wouldn’t be any disruption when EU law is transferred into UK law. Its comments came after the government revealed its Repeal Bill yesterday (July 13).
The Repeal Bill – formerly known as the Great Repeal Bill when Prime Minister Theresa May first published details of the legislation the day after triggering Article 50 (March 30) – didn’t contain individual policy details, but transfers all EU regulations into UK law. The UK will have two years after Brexit to correct any problems within the bill.
EEF’s chief executive Terry Scuoler said: “The Repeal Bill is the most important and complex legislative measure that parliament will scrutinise and debate in many decades.
‘Important and complex legislative measure’
“UK businesses must be given the confidence and certainty that the transfer of European legislation into UK law will be undertaken with no disruption to business and trading arrangements after March 2019.”
It was vital the government worked with business on the individual details of the bill, to avoid any unintended legal or regulatory consequences, Scuoler said.
“This must include Parliament being given the time and scope to adequately scrutinise what is a highly complex and unprecedented transfer of legislative measures to the UK,” he added.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said it would work with government to make sure the food and drinks sector’s voice was heard.
FDF chief scientific officer Helen Munday said: “Around 95% of UK food law is in the form of EU regulations and these regulations cover every step of the supply chain, from ingredients through to the distribution of products.
“Through the Repeal Bill and other legislation, we are seeking a stable regulatory framework which allows business to plan and prepare for exiting the EU. We will work with government and across the parties so our voice is heard.”
The Labour Party said the bill fell short of expectations, and was “simply not fit for purpose”. It pledged to vote against the repeal bill at second reading in September.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said: “Labour has always been clear that Brexit cannot lead to any rolling back of rights and protections. We need effective legislation that protects British workers and consumers, enshrines equality laws, enforces environmental standards and devolves powers across the country.
“The bill proposes sweeping new powers for ministers that are fundamentally undemocratic, unaccountable and unacceptable. It fails to guarantee crucial rights will be enforced; it omits the EU charter of fundamental rights and it does nothing to ensure that British standards and rights keep pace with our EU partners.”
Prior to the bill’s unveiling, the Scotch Whisky Association said it was vital that spirit drink definition laws and labelling rules were included in UK law. The continued growth of Scotch whisky should be seen as “litmus test” of the success of the UK’s exit from the EU. Scotch whisky is the UK’s largest exported product, with overseas sales increasing 3.9% to £4.1bn according to latest Food and Drink Federation figures.
Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Karen Betts said: “As EU laws are brought directly into UK law, it’s essential that business stability, certainty and consistency are top of the agenda.
“We look forward to working closely with government throughout this process to ensure that any amendments necessary to make EU laws work in the UK are practical and appropriate.”
What they say about the Repeal Bill
- “The Repeal Bill is the most important and complex legislative measure that Parliament will scrutinise and debate in many decades. It is set against a fast approaching and hard deadline of the UK’s departure from the EU.”
Terry Scuoler, EEF
- “We welcome today’s publication of the Repeal Bill. As EU laws are brought directly into UK law, it’s essential that business stability, certainty and consistency are top of the agenda.”
Karen Betts, SWA
- “The bill proposes sweeping new powers for ministers that are fundamentally undemocratic, unaccountable and unacceptable. It fails to guarantee crucial rights will be enforced.”
Keir Starmer, The Labour Party