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Ministers promise bonfire of red tape two years after Brexit

Ministers are to introduce a “Brexit freedoms” bill that will make it easier to amend or repeal EU rules that were carried over into British law when the UK left the bloc.

On the second anniversary of Britain’s departure from the EU, Downing Street said the new measures would make it easier to “cut £1 billion of red tape” for British businesses.

However, it did not specify exactly what provisions the bill would contain to speed up reforms, or how it calculated that businesses would save £1 billion through the cutting of red tape.

Ministers have so far made slow progress in identifying and altering previous EU rules and regulations that derived from the UK’s membership of the bloc. Last year they altered some rules around the hours HGV drivers were allowed to work to deal with the supply change problems. They have also promised to revoke EU regulations that ban shops from selling goods by imperial measurements only.

Some changes could prove problematic under the terms of the trade deal struck with Brussels. It requires the UK to ensure that any changes to domestic law do not give UK firms an unfair advantage over their EU competitors or face potential trade tariffs.

Downing Street said that under present rules, changing or scrapping regulations would take “several years” because of a long-winded alteration process.

No 10 said that primary legislation was needed for many changes, even if “minor and technical”. Instead, it is understood that the bill would allow changes to be made by ministers through a process of statutory instrument that normally passes through parliament without a vote.

Writing in today’s Daily Mail, Boris Johnson said: “Two years after we left the EU we have all kind of reasons to celebrate our new freedoms. We have taken back control of our money, our borders and our laws. We have done more than 60 free trade deals.”

He concluded: “It is time to put aside the old divisions. Two years on, it is time to abandon the punitive and zerosum approach. And as we develop this postBrexit agenda of freedom, it will be great for Britain and good for the whole of Europe.”

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