I am pleased to be able to update the House on progress regarding the usage of the Retained EU Law Act, with further revocations of Retained EU Law being tabled today in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 (Revocation and Sunset Disapplication) Regulations 2023.
These 93 revocations continue the work already undertaken in Schedule 1 of the Retained EU Law Act in tidying and bringing further clarity to the statute book. This wave of revocations focuses on legislation which is redundant and therefore does not reflect policy change, however, it is a crucial exercise to tidy up the statute book and make sure that law is accurate and understandable.
Indeed, one of the key purposes of the Retained EU Law Act was to bring legislative clarity. Retained EU Law is an aberration on the statute book which can cause unnecessary complication and confusion. It is the duty of all responsible governments to make our law as clear and accessible as possible and therefore we must continue to identify Retained EU Law which is redundant or inoperable and ensure its removal from the statute book. This SI is another step forward in this work.
However, let me be clear, simply tidying the statute book is not the limit of this Government’s ambition on Retained EU Law.
The steps the Government has already taken are a down payment on our plans to reform REUL and reduce the overall regulatory burden. Over the past few months we have already set out ambitious reform plans, such as reforms to reduce disproportionate EU-derived working time reporting requirements that could save businesses around £1bn a year; and streamlining the 400-page EU-derived rulebook for wine which is overly complex and bureaucratic, to name only two examples. Announcements to make clear the requirements on businesses and improve the lives of our citizens through improving consumer transparency, as well as on transport and travel, and how the Government works with regulators to ensure they are playing their part in this effort, are all planned for the coming months.
We will continue to use the powers in the REUL Act between now and June 2026 to reform and replace unnecessary regulations, providing regular updates to Parliament on our progress as set out in the Act itself. This reform programme is a crucial part of the Government’s agenda and I can assure the House that this is only the beginning. I will of course provide further updates on reforms in due course.
The SI also contains a small number of preservations from the original schedule, as after further analysis of the legislation on the schedule, departments have identified four pieces of Retained EU Law that it is necessary to preserve.
Furthermore, the Northern Ireland Civil Service has identified three pieces of legislation which must be preserved for Northern Ireland only. All three pieces relate to information provision and promotion measures concerning agricultural products implemented in the internal market and in third countries. These must be preserved for Northern Ireland only because their revocation represents a policy change which would require agreement by Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive which cannot be granted in the ongoing absence of that Executive.
A line-by-line explanation, providing further information on all pieces of REUL being revoked, has been deposited in the House Library and is available on gov.uk.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords