Brexit. Why do Brits want Out of the EU?

Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 4 Dec, 2022 05:53 am
hightor wrote:
Brexit enables the UK to scrap lots of EU regulations.
Not just "lots", but all - which was the main aim for the Brexiteers.

hightor wrote:
Why is that so difficult to understand?
Many, most Brexiteers didn't notice - and some don't today - what it means to get away with 52,741 laws and not having anything similar or better.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2022 06:09 pm
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2022 08:27 am
How well or badly do you think Brexit has gone so far?
Field work dates: 28 January 2021 - 2 December 2022
Data from: Great Britain, United Kingdom
Results from: 8 polls


65% of voters say EU withdrawal has gone badly, poll finds
Two in three Britons believe Brexit has gone badly, a poll has found – the highest level of negativity since Boris Johnson’s trade deal come into force at the start of 2021.

Some 65 per cent of voters think Brexit was going badly and only 21 per cent say it is going well, the latest Opinium survey found.

Polling guru Prof John Curtice told The Independent that the results reflected a steady “erosion” in support for Brexit, mainly due to economic turmoil.

His own poll-of-polls analysis shows support from re-joining the EU at 57 per cent and staying out at 43 per cent if vote in another Brexit referendum.

“The proportion of people who say they would vote to re-join has been going up in the past year,” said Prof Curtice. “There is no doubt that there has been something of a decline in support for Brexit.”

He added: “The principal explanation for the shift seems to be to do with the economic consequences of Brexit. We are now somewhat more economically pessimistic about Brexit that we were.”
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2022 11:09 am
Brexit end of free movement causing labour shortage ‘shock’ but not wage growth, government advisors warn
Vacancies in sectors most reliant on EU workers not translating into higher wages

Ending EU free movement has caused a “shock” to Britain’s labour market and left pay growth weak, the government’s migration advisors have said.

In its annual report, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said the government had “no coherent, overarching strategy” for dealing with labour shortages hitting the economy.

The report by the government committee found wage growth in sectors most reliant on EU labour before Brexit actually lagged behind the growth in wages across the rest of the economy.

Hospitality, agriculture, logistics, and manufacturing all lagged UK median pay growth despite posting large numbers of vacancies and being reliant on EU workers.

The committee said the data illustrated “that high vacancies do not translate into higher wages automatically” and that it was “unrealistic” to expect pay to increase permanently without raising prices or increasing productivity.

“The ending of freedom of movement constituted a labour supply shock to the UK economy, particularly for the sectors most reliant on EEA-born workers,” the committee’s report says.

It said the point at which the Brexit labour shortages had hit had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic because it encouraged workers with settled status to move home.

The committee said some employers might try to attract new workers by raising wages, but that there were “high barriers to doing so”, in that “these sectors may not have been traditionally attractive to domestic workers and employers may face more intense competition with each other over a relatively fixed pool of labour”.

“The ending of freedom of movement constituted a labour supply shock to the UK economy, particularly for the sectors most reliant on EEA-born workers,” the committee’s report says.

It said the point at which the Brexit labour shortages had hit had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic because it encouraged workers with settled status to move home.

The committee said some employers might try to attract new workers by raising wages, but that there were “high barriers to doing so”, in that “these sectors may not have been traditionally attractive to domestic workers and employers may face more intense competition with each other over a relatively fixed pool of labour”.

In some sectors there would be a “relative decline” in work with less being produced due to the lack of available workers, they said.

But the committee warned against introducing new visa routes for low-wage workers for particular sectors, arguing that this could have “unintended consequences” and lead to exploitation.

Elsewhere in the report the committee detailed how visas tied to particular jobs could carry a high risk of exploitation by creating “dependency” on an employer

Instead, the government should simply accept that some jobs were no longer “economically viable”, it argued.

“Without freedom of movement, many of these jobs may not have existed and may cease to exist in the future – and the period of adjustment to new labour market conditions may be difficult. This is not necessarily a negative development, and there is no obvious reason most private sector industries need to be a particular size,” they said.

“In the context of soaring vacancies but consistently high economic inactivity and a looming recession, the MAC believes that the government should resist calls to open new visa routes without a strong economic rationale and in effect undo the end of FoM [freedom of movement] on a sectoral basis.

“Low-wage worker routes have significant unintended consequences, and we are not confident that the government will be in a position to prevent exploitation of migrant workers whose visa ties them to low-wage jobs.”

It added: “It is disappointing that there is a lack of joined-up thinking across government, in cooperation with the private sector, on how to proactively manage and address shortages in the labour market.

“There is no coherent, overarching strategy for skills and employment that draws on public and private sector actors to facilitate a robust skills infrastructure, enable employers to improve pay and conditions and automate where appropriate, and encourage inactive workers into employment.”

Last month chancellor Jeremy Hunt accepted that labour shortages were a major problem for the UK economy “creating constraints for businesses that are finding they can't employ the people they need”.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2022 03:21 am
David Frost handed £26,000 after quitting as UK’s Brexit negotiator
Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator got a more than £26,000 taxpayer-funded payout for stepping down from the government having served as a minister for just nine months, the Guardian can reveal.

David Frost, who quit last December citing concerns about the “direction of travel” of future relations with the EU and making the most of post-Brexit “opportunities”, was given the compensation for “loss of office”.

The Conservative peer was handed a lump sum of £26,090, accounts published by the Cabinet Office in the week before Christmas show.

He was the highest-paid minister in the department, with the equivalent of a £104,000 salary – nearly double that of Michael Gove, Steve Barclay and Alok Sharma.
Ministers are eligible for a payout equal to a quarter of their salary when they leave office. A torrent of payouts were awarded when several dozen members of Johnson’s government quit in the months leading up to his departure.
Before becoming a minister, Frost was a civil servant who was the UK’s chief negotiator during talks with Brussels over the divorce settlement and then future trade deal.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2022 07:37 am
Brexit rule that makes EU citizens reapply to stay in UK is unlawful, court says
Home Office rules that could put millions of EU citizens at risk of job losses or deportation after Brexit have been found to be unlawful by the high court.

Under the current EU settlement scheme, EU citizens who had been in the country for less than five years before Brexit and who had “pre-settled status” are obliged to reapply to upgrade their status to “settled status” after being in the country for five years.

If they did not, they would automatically lose their rights to reside, work, rent property or access services including the NHS, under Home Office rules.

But in a ruling handed out on Wednesday in the high court, Justice Lane described the rule as “wrong in law and that the EU settlement scheme is accordingly unlawful” as it “purports to abrogate the right of permanent residence”.

Lane ruled that a right of residence could only be lost in very specific circumstances that were clearly defined in the withdrawal agreement.

The loss of rights because someone failed to apply to upgrade from pre-settled status to settled status was not one of those circumstances, Lane said.

Under the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the UK and the EU agreed that both EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU could lawfully remain in the countries they lived in if they had settled there before Brexit.

But only the UK and Slovenia required citizens to make a second application to remain if they had been in the country for less than five years, the court was told.

Under the Home Office rules, if any of those with “pre-settled status” did not apply to upgrade their status to “settled status” after being in the country for five years they would automatically lose their rights to reside, work, rent property or access services including the NHS. They were also liable to deportation.

Lane said he had “no reason to doubt” that the Home Office would support vulnerable people with pre-settled status but that the withdrawal agreement “precluded” the Home Office from imposing a requirement for further leave to be in the country as a “condition for retaining such rights”.

He said: “If the defendant is right, a very large number of people face the most serious uncertainty.”

The Home Office minister Lord Murray said the government took its “obligations to securing their [EU citizens’] rights in the UK very seriously. The EU settlement scheme goes above and beyond our obligations under the withdrawal agreement, protecting EU citizens’ rights and giving them a route to settlement in the UK.

“We are disappointed by this judgment, which we intend to appeal.”
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2023 05:20 am
Plans by the government to review up to 4,000 pieces of EU legislation could be delayed by the Lords

Peers set to slow down attempts to scrap thousands of EU laws
Members of the House of Lords are preparing to slow down attempts to axe thousands of pieces of European Union legislation, with some warning there is no chance of the bill passing by the end of the year as promised.

Ministers have promised to review about 4,000 pieces of EU law that derive from Britain’s membership of the bloc, and have set a deadline of the end of the year to decide which ones to keep.

Such a move could mark one of the biggest deregulatory drives in a generation, but peers and experts from business groups, trade unions and environmental campaigns have all warned that such a deadline is impractical.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2023 05:31 am
The Department for Transport signed off on a £200,000 contract for RE:ACT – a humanitarian charity which gets aid to war and disaster zones – to help those hit by disruption at Dover.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 9 Jan, 2023 01:16 pm
NI protocol: UK and EU agree deal on trade data sharing
The UK and the EU have reached an agreement on access to a new British database providing real-time information on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, in the first sign of progress in talks over the controversial Brexit protocol.

The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, and the European Commission vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, described a meeting in London today as “cordial and constructive” in a joint statement.

They said the agreement was a “critical prerequisite to building trust and providing assurance” and “provided a new basis for EU-UK discussions”. The pact may also herald a new eagerness by the prime minister to rebuild UK-EU relations, which were strained under Boris Johnson.
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2023 03:46 am
Yesterday on Radio 4's A Life Scientific, the gentleman in charge of the horsemeat scandal was interviewed.

He was asked if another scandal was likely. He said definitely. Apparently all the meat entering the UK from the EU comes through Rotterdam.

Prior to Brexit this was all tested in Rotterdam, but that is no longer the case.

The Government has shifted the responsibility to the industry meaning big players like the supermarket chains and other food giants will probably OK.

The small firms will not have the resources so corner shops, Kebab joints and burger vans will be very suspect.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2023 01:04 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Cleverly’s Brexit talks left in disarray by Sinn Féin and SDLP no-shows
Sinn Féin accuses UK government of ‘Tory petulance’ claiming its leader Mary Lou McDonald had been excluded from the talks

James Cleverly’s first round-table talks with Northern Ireland party leaders over Brexit were left in disarray after both Sinn Féin and the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour party refused to attend.

Sinn Féin accused the UK government of “Tory petulance” claiming its leader Mary Lou McDonald, who had travelled up from Dublin for the meeting, had been “excluded” from the talks.

The foreign secretary denied any snub saying the party’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill and head of the party in Northern Ireland had been invited and “chose not to come”.

He is due to meet the European commission vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, for an official “stock take” on Monday as expectations of a breakthrough over the protocol rise.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 13 Jan, 2023 08:51 am
As Leave voters’ Brexit regret rises, will political parties dare to follow?
Even leavers might be changing their minds, but there’s little incentive for the opposition to revisit the issue, say analysts

While Brexit may have been chased out of the headlines in recent months by the cost of living crisis and the chaos in Westminster, the tectonic plates of public opinion on this deeply divisive issue have been quietly shifting.

The opposition parties have shied away from blaming Brexit for the UK’s woes, but voters’ scepticism about the project has increased through the past 18 months, as the economic outlook has darkened.

As the elections expert Prof John Curtice put it in a blogpost last week, “rather than looking like an unchallenged ‘fait accompli’, Brexit now appears to be a subject on which a significant body of voters has had second thoughts”.

Crucially, his analysis shows that the shift has been mainly driven not by changes in the makeup of the electorate – with younger voters coming of age, for example – but by leavers changing their minds.

By the autumn of 2022, as Liz Truss’s disastrous premiership exacerbated concerns about the state of the economy, support for rejoining the EU had increased to 57%, against 43% preferring to stay out, according to a poll of polls by NatCen social research.

That marked a significant turnaround from mid-2021, when 52% wanted to stay outside and 48% to rejoin – the same margin as in the referendum five years earlier.

Nevertheless, many political analysts say Keir Starmer and the Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, have good reason for not placing Brexit’s shortcomings front and centre.

Luke Tryl, the director of the thinktank More in Common, which conducts frequent focus groups, confirmed that he and his colleagues had been hearing from a growing number of former Brexiters who had lost faith.

“It tends to come in two forms: one sense is, we’ve got all this trouble and we could do without it; and then there’s another sense, which tends to be a bit grumpier, which is that it could have been done well but politicians have fluffed it,” he said.

Yet he said that after living through the unedifying political turmoil of 2016-19, when Brexit preoccupied the country’s politicians to the exclusion of almost everything else, many voters were reluctant to see Brexit return to the top of the agenda.

He described “the horror on people’s faces – and you can literally see it on people’s faces in focus groups – when you talk about going back to Brexit debates”, adding: “The big reason they don’t want to touch the ‘rejoin’ thing is that they think it would be four more years when that’s all we would talk about.”

With Labour running 20 points ahead in the polls, and public attention focused squarely on the state of the economy and public services, Prof Rob Ford of Manchester University, said Starmer’s reluctance to focus on Brexit was understandable.

“This is a country with a rather large collection of ongoing dumpster fires, right here, in domestic politics,” he says. “Some of them are contributed to by Brexit, yes, but rejoining is a long-term project.”

Even the Lib Dems, whose hearts lie firmly inside the EU, believe there is little to be gained from using up precious air-time attacking Brexit, when the public are more focused on more immediate crises – and already very receptive to the argument that the government is to blame.

Ford, who is the co-author of the book Brexitland, about the politics of leaving the EU, argues that any plan to rejoin now would be likely to hit a brick wall in Brussels anyway.


“EU leaders are not stupid. They haven’t forgotten who they were dealing with for the last three years. They’re never going to let us in the door until both Labour and the Conservatives are committed to doing it,” he said.

He believes support for rejoining would have to settle at perhaps 70-75%, and have the backing of both main parties’ leaderships, before the EU would risk investing precious political capital in negotiations that could be unpicked by a change of government.

One finding in recent More in Common research also helps to shed light on why opposition politicians are not falling over themselves to promise to rejoin.

In a poll carried out just before Christmas, 34% of voters said they would be more likely to back Labour if the party advocated reversing Brexit, against 30% who said less likely.

Yet among those who voted Conservative in 2019 – the potential swing voters on whom Starmer’s team are focused – just 16% said they would be more likely to back a Labour party promising to rejoin, while 48% said less likely.

Prof Paula Surridge, of Bristol University, said Labour would be very keen not to alienate the very voters they hoped to win over – but where public opinion leads, politicians may eventually follow.

“The main thing for Labour is that there is no need to shout about it at the moment,” she said. “There’s a a sense of, well, the voters will come to their own conclusions on this, and then there might be some space later.”
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 14 Jan, 2023 11:03 am
Whitehall spending ‘tens of millions’ on Rees-Mogg’s bill to scrap EU laws
Opposition MPs call for government rethink on ‘reckless’ plans to rewrite almost 4,000 European regulations

Civil servants are estimated to be spending tens of millions of pounds establishing which laws and regulations could be scrapped under the government’s controversial retained EU laws bill.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) last week admitted it spent £600,000 on staffing costs alone in just two months as part of its review of the bill.

Ministers have now ordered other departments not to reveal details on what resources they have diverted, but analysis by the Observer suggests the final total for all government departments will be in the tens of millions.

BEIS is responsible for just 318 out of about 4,000 laws and regulations protecting employment rights, consumer rights, the environment, farming, travel and civil liberties that Rishi Sunak said he plans to abolish or reform by the end of the year.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Treasury and the Department for Transport all have more regulations to consider, while HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care also have substantial tasks.

Last year, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who championed the bill as business secretary, was told BEIS would need 400 staff to find out which laws the government wanted to scrap and what the impact would be, while the DHSC would need 100 people to deal with 137 pieces of legislation identified so far. Experts say the cost could run into tens of millions of pounds.

MPs from every opposition party have called on the government to rethink the bill, which returns to parliament on Wednesday.

In a letter to the Observer, the MPs say: “As yet parliament doesn’t have a full list of what regulations could be deleted but we do know it includes vital protections for river quality, clean air, consumer health and workers’ rights.

“Ministers are choosing to apply an arbitrary, unmanageable deadline to review these laws and then giving themselves the power to decide what happens next rather than parliament.”

For instance, civil servants in the business department have the task of examining the future of the ecodesign of ‘glandless standalone circulators’ (a type of fan), or whether to keep regulations ensuring that makeup or lead crystal glass is not toxic.

Defra has about 1,100 laws and regulations to review, including rules on aquatic animal quarantine, or how to guarantee that chicks exported to Finland are free of salmonella.

Other regulations include those to protect wildlife, limit sewage and pollution in rivers, whether drinking water has radioactive substances in it, the use of hormones in livestock, how much pesticide is allowed in food, and limits on harmful air pollution.

Ruth Chambers of the Greener UK coalition of 10 major environmental organisations said: “Trying to scrap nearly 4,000 laws in a year with next to no scrutiny is reckless and undermines the environment, business and public health.

“Simply extending the deadline will not change the fundamental flaws. Ministers will still be able to weaken vital protections behind closed doors. Gaps will still be left in the law. The bill will drain resources from government departments trying to deal with the cost of living crisis, and cost taxpayers millions in the process.

“We need a far more considered approach that this bill cannot and will not provide.”

Experts are already warning that the legislation raises serious legal problems for the government and directly contradicts elements of the 2020 Brexit trade agreement with the EU which guarantees that UK will not “weaken or reduce” labour and social protections.

Prof Keith Ewing, president of the Institute of Employment Rights, said that a string of employment rights would be made “vulnerable” by the new bill. “This is a very wide category of rights,” he said. “You could argue it covers our entire inheritance from leaving the EU, as a result there is an obligation of non-regression. I can’t see how they can meet the obligations of that deal and remove all EU regulations by the end of the year.

“Some people in government seem to be deluding themselves that because of Brexit, we can move ourselves back to the days before 1 January 1973, as if the world had never changed. We may have left the EU, but we have retained obligations to it under the trade agreement.”

A BEIS spokesperson said: “The programme to review, revoke and reform retained EU law is underway and being adequately resourced.”

Reply Sat 14 Jan, 2023 11:10 am
@Walter Hinteler,
It really is a shame that they decided to leave. Look at the fallout.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2023 11:37 am
Hopes of joint political declaration dashed after talks between James Cleverly and EU’s Maros Sefcovic.

No protocol breakthrough as UK and EU agree to ‘scope’ for solutions
There was no breakthrough in the post-Brexit row over the Northern Ireland Protocol following talks between foreign secretary James Cleverly and his European Commission counterpart Maros Sefcovic.

Dispute hopes of the two sides could issue a political declaration on Monday, the UK and the EU only agreed to continue “scoping work” to solve the dispute as gaps in their positions remained.

Mr Cleverly and Mr Sefcovic said they would continue to search for potential solutions in a “constructive and collaborative spirit” after they discussed a range of “existing challenges” in the virtual meeting.

There had been speculation the two sides were edging towards technical agreement to ease the implementation of trade checks on good moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland – but No 10 said there are “still gaps” between the two sides.

Officials could not confirm another meeting had been scheduled, but expected one soon, and they did not say whether talks would enter a more intensive phase.

Irish foreign minister Micheal Martin welcomed the “continued positive engagement”, saying the two sides were working “together constructively to find joint solutions”.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2023 01:57 am
There are fears that basic rights such as maternity protections and holiday entitlement could be swept away.

Labour to force Commons vote on plans to ‘sunset’ 4,000 EU laws
Labour is seeking to protect workers’ employment rights from being abolished as part of ministers’ controversial retained EU law bill by forcing a Commons vote on the topic on Wednesday.

The party fears basic rights, including maternity protections and holiday entitlement, could be swept away under the government’s plans to “sunset” 4,000 laws derived from Brussels by the end of this year.

The bill, which returns to the Commons on Thursday, revokes all EU law that is not proactively adopted by the government.

A number of senior Conservative MPs have hit out at Rishi Sunak’s attempt to press ahead with the bill and have backed an amendment designed to give MPs greater oversight on the scrapping of thousands of EU laws.

They include: the leading Brexiter David Davis; the former justice secretary Robert Buckland; Caroline Nokes, chair of the Commons women and equalities committee; and Sir Bob Neill, chair of the justice committee.

The Labour MP Stella Creasy, who is leading the amendment and is chair of the Labour Movement for Europe, told the Guardian: “The consequences of accidentally deleting laws that affect people’s lives are huge. This bill represents a massive opportunity for a cock up, as a minister will hit the delete button on something they wouldn’t realise they have deleted.

“It’s nothing to do with Brexit, otherwise Brexiteers wouldn’t support the amendments we’re proposing. Deleting everything and giving ministers the powers to do this is not taking back control, it’s simply reinforcing control in Downing Street, not our parliament. Rishi Sunak has to stand up for parliamentary sovereignty.”

Reasserting Labour as on the side of the working people, the shadow employment minister, Justin Madders, said: “Yet again the Conservatives are trying to strip away the rights of working people and their protections at work.

“The government’s plans to allow the secretary of state to drop vital employment protections are an affront to British people’s hard-won rights at work.”

Labour’s move follows claims that human rights are being put at risk by the government’s rush to ditch up to 4,000 EU laws.

Human and equality rights organisations have written to the government to notify it they have identified a number of provisions in the retained EU law bill that “risk a breach” of the “international legal commitment” made in the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol to uphold the rights specified in the 1998 Good Friday agreement.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission says that unless the bill is amended to address these concerns, “there is a risk that human rights and equality legislation relevant to protocol article 2 would not be preserved, restated or re-enacted in time”.

It also says the rush to enact the bill and expire EU legislation by the end of 2023 under “sunset provisions” would mean a “lack of consultation” with the bodies established to ensure equality and human rights are upheld in the post-conflict communities.

Article 2 of the protocol is based on the recognition that equality and human rights are central to the Good Friday agreement. In addition, it guarantees the UK government will “keep pace” with EU equality laws to ensure the agreement is upheld in all its parts.

It cites these along with six other directives that underpin the peace accord, including the victims’ directive, the parental leave directive and the pregnant workers’ directive.

Sunak’s official spokesperson said ministers “clearly have a grip on what needs to be done”, adding that “the public wants to see is action taken quickly”.

Asked for the timeline for updates on the initiative, he said: “I think some of this work can be done and introduced quite quickly. Some will take more time to develop, but it will be departments that will provide updates.”
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2023 02:22 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Ministers clash with MPs over plan to scrap EU laws
Ministers have clashed with opposition and Conservative MPs over their plans to scrap EU-era laws copied over to UK law after Brexit.

The government's Retained EU Law Bill will see thousands of laws expire automatically after December, unless they are specifically kept or replaced.

Some MPs have raised concerns the deadline will rob Parliament of a meaningful say over what is changed.

But a business minister said it would set a "clear timeline" to update laws.

Speaking in the Commons, Nus Ghani told MPs it would ensure laws inherited from the EU do not become an "ageing relic dragging down the UK".

Amendments suggested by Labour to extend the deadline to 2026, and exempt swathes of environmental and employment legislation, were defeated after the government ordered Tory MPs to vote them down.

A cross-party attempt to give MPs a bigger say over which laws are ditched was also defeated, although a handful of rebel Conservatives backed it.

The bill was given final approval by MPs on Wednesday, but is expected to run into significant opposition when it heads to the House of Lords for further scrutiny in the coming weeks.

Ms Ghani said that, so far, the government had identified 3,200 EU laws that were copied over to UK law to minimise disruption to businesses when the UK officially left the EU in 2020.

That figure was expected to rise to 4,000 as an official audit carried out by civil servants continued, she added.

The bill would allow ministers to amend or replace EU laws using secondary legislation, a fast-track process for making new laws, prompting concerns about a lack of scrutiny.

Officials have predicted that around 1,000 new UK laws will be required to remove or replace EU-era legislation by the December deadline.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2023 11:52 am
The customs inspection site at Sevington in Kent has space for 1,700 lorries, but lies largely deserted.

‘It’s a farce’: the giant Brexit border control site now used to inspect Ukrainian pets
It is built on a vast 230-acre site, with a total cost put at more than £100m, and has space for 1,700 heavy goods vehicles. Security staff are on patrol at several checkpoints around its 12-foot-high perimeter fence. Inside are new state-of-the-art buildings and equipment for inspecting imports from Europe.

But more than six months after completion, this heavily guarded supposed showpiece of a newly independent Britain lies all but deserted. It is labelled by people who live nearby as the great white elephant of Brexit, spanking new but largely redundant. The only imports being inspected are a few pets from Ukraine.
Locally, the word is that the IBF will soon be turned over for development into warehouses or housing. Rachel Brown, who lives a stone’s throw from the perimeter, said what had happened was “horrendous”: “If they are not using it what is the point? It will be a housing estate in a few years. It is a complete disgrace.” Another Sevington resident, Terry, who did not want to give his surname, added: “It is a farce, a white elephant. It is quite obvious no one knew how Brexit was going to turn out or what to do. The result is we are left with this on the doorstep.” IBFs at Ebbsfleet and Warrington have already been closed.
Sevington was built in little over two years mainly to conduct import inspections on goods of plant and animal original from the EU, a responsibility of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

But the regime of rules it was built to administer has never come into force because of U-turns forced on government by the dawning realisation that trade operates better without friction.

The Kent site, just off the M20 near Ashford, is the biggest of seven such depots constructed across the country away from busy ports – in this case Dover.

But when building work was nearing completion in 2021, ministers started having doubts about the effect of burdensome checks, as trade with the EU declined. Last spring Jacob Rees-Mogg, then minister for Brexit opportunities, delayed the start of checks for the fourth time, fearing they would be too bureaucratic and costly for businesses, and cause more tailbacks on Kent’s roads.

An announcement on what regime will now be introduced is scheduled for early this year. A government spokesperson said Sevington would still play a key role in “creating a seamless, digital border”. But it is certain to be a lighter touch one than that previously envisaged, putting Sevington’s suitability for purpose further in doubt.

Defra told the Observer on Friday that it now had “no current operations” at Sevington “except a small presence” which “was temporarily available for holding pets during the Ukraine response”.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, said the Sevington site was a costly mistake caused by the rush to “get Brexit done” and a failure to foresee what it would entail.

He and other industry experts had been warning about problems of operating a hard border for years before Brexit. “The reason for building these places was that policymakers wanted to leave (the EU) quickly to get something done but the actual arrangements, the nuts and bolts we needed, were not clear. Policymakers have now realised there are some consequences to having a hard border which we don’t like, which are costly inspections and delays, which harm business. I think they have realised we probably don’t need to have these checks because we have very similar standards to the EU. We simply don’t need to do these things. But there is a big cost to the exchequer.”

He added: “I think it would have been better for us if we had decided what our departure would look like. You have got to understand what the costs and consequences are. There has been a lot of wasted money.”

Defra says it will announce a new programme of controls and inspections in the next few weeks. But the tune has changed. There is less talk now of hard borders, more of reducing friction – the whole idea of the EU single market.

Industry experts say the change of mind runs deeper, and suggest ministers are even considering moving back to closer alignment with EU rules for certain traded products, including those of plant and animal origin.
Meanwhile, the port of Dover received a £45m investment last week from the government’s levelling up fund (originally envisaged to help deprived parts of the UK) to improve the flow of traffic from the UK to the EU and reduce congestion on local roads post-Brexit. The levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, who, like Rees-Mogg, had insisted that Brexit would be all good news for the UK economy, has found that in reality it comes at a very heavy cost to his own budget as well as to British taxpayers.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2023 11:13 am
In the years since Britain voted to quit the E.U., many Eastern Europeans have left the country, adding to a shortfall of about 330,000 workers. The food and farming sectors have been hit particularly hard.

For British Farmers, the Effects of Brexit Have Become Clearer
Reply Wed 25 Jan, 2023 07:50 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
The boffins would say that the C19 episode is the leading cause of migrant workers heading home, and not just brexit.

0 Replies

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