Exporters Express ‘Real Fear’ of Retained EU Law Bill

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Brexit ‘Shock to the System’ for Trading

Scottish exporters have expressed their concern around the UK Government’s Retained EU Law Bill, which seeks to revoke over 2,400 pieces of EU legislation that were included in the UK statute book at the end of the Brexit transition period.

Donna Fordyce, Chief Executive of Seafood Scotland, told the Scottish Parliament’s Constitution, Europe & External Affairs committee that Brexit has already been a “shock to the system”, and that the further deregulation and lower standards proposed in the bill present a “real fear” to exporters.

The committee also heard from the Director of Policy at National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), Jonnie Hall, that they too have “significant concerns” about the bill – not least the “lack of clarity and certainty”.

From the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Elspeth MacDonald told of how the legislation has been “rushed” – in contrast with the Scottish Government’s measured approach to consulting on the Future Catching Policy.

The Scottish Government’s Constitution Secretary, Angus Robertson, has urged the UK Government to withdraw the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill in its entirety. Scottish Ministers have repeatedly highlighted their concerns that the Bill puts standards at risk, including regulations protecting rights for pregnant women at work, environmental standards and requirements to label food for allergens.

Mr Robertson said that, should the UK Government press ahead with the Bill, the legislation should be amended to mitigate the most severe impacts and to prevent divergence from the high standards and protections previously provided by EU law.

The Scottish Government recently published a list of amendments, which include removing the proposed ‘sunsetting’ of over 2,400 pieces of law and taking away the proposed power of UK Ministers to act in areas of devolved policy without the consent of Scottish Ministers. These were outlined in a letter from Mr Robertson to the UK Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Secretary Grant Shapps,  following the lodging of a Legislative Consent Memorandum recommending that the Scottish Parliament withholds consent for the Bill.

– Graeme 

MSPs have heard some damning evidence from key Scottish industries where the implication of this Bill is concerned – sectors that have already been hammered by Brexit, facing spiralling costs and red tape.

With Labour signed up as a fully pro-Brexit party, the only way for Scotland to escape the chaos of Westminster and re-join the EU is through independence.

The insecurity of the devolution settlement is further demonstrated by this Bill – a blatant power grab in devolved policy areas.

These are laws that should be made in Scotland, not imposed by the UK Government.