Brexit: Wine connoisseur on cutting of 'red tape' tests
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The Government has “gone to sleep” when it comes to deregulation in the 12 months since the UK left the EU, and seemed to have “a bit of caution about seizing the opportunities of Brexit”. Any plans to do more have been “pushed into the future, without any real program.”
Patrick Minford, chair of Applied Economics at Cardiff University, said it was the ongoing talks about the Northern Ireland Protocol that threatens to “completely derail the whole deregulation option” if the UK decides to resolve it by remaining aligned to EU regulations.
Boris Johnson promised a mass cutting of red tape once the UK had left the EU and was no longer beholden to its own laws.
In June, the Prime Minister said: “The UK’s innovators and entrepreneurs can lead the world in the economy of the future, creating new opportunities and greater prosperity along the way.
“This can only happen if we clear a path through the thicket of burdensome and restrictive regulation that has grown up around our industries over the past half century.”
However, come September, a report in Politico showed that the City was still waiting for action from the Government.
Julian Jessop, an independent economist and former Chief Economist for the Institute of Economic Affairs, told Express.co.uk: “With or without Brexit, I think there are lots of things that Government can do to deregulate the economy, things like the planning laws.
“Planning laws have nothing to do with the membership of the EU. But that’s an area where the Government has made good noises, but then backed down a bit. So I think there might be a bit of caution about seizing the opportunities of Brexit.
“There are lots of things the government could do in areas like agriculture and financial services, where the industry has been held back by what the EU rules had been.
“So the Government could be a lot bolder there – and that would be, I think, a good example of how the benefits of Brexit can be realised.”
Meanwhile, Professor Minford commented that the Government “haven’t done anything on regulation yet, which was supposed to be one of the big things.
“They haven’t raised much energy at all, as far as I can make out. If anything, they’ve gone to sleep on the regulation front; but they are planning to do more, I know that much.
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“But, of course, it’s all kind of being pushed into the future, without any real program. And that’s quite frustrating; all the energy at the moment has been going into this Northern Ireland protocol.”
Professor Minford said he hoped that the Government would be able to settle the issues with the border in Ireland.
The UK and the EU have been in talks in recent months to settle disputes about the way goods are checked when entering Northern Ireland, which is both in the UK and the single market to allow an open border with the Republic of Ireland.
EU checks on goods from the rest of the UK into Northern Ireland threaten to cause further delays and costs.
Professor Minford said that it was “pretty stupid to bang on about it” as it “suits” Northern Irish businesses to be a part of both internal markets.
However, he said that “the EU has tried to use it in the past as a way of getting us to sign up to common regulation – that’s kind of stymied the deregulation push. Which is frustrating, really.”
He added: “If the Government were to jump the other way and say ‘well, oh, to hell with it, we’ll just hold back on deregulation and stay with the EU system’, then, of course, that would be one way to deal with the Northern Ireland dilemma.
“But of course, it would completely derail the whole deregulation option, which is very important to get the benefits from Brexit.
“So I think that pretty clear they’re not going to do that, but the problem is that when there is when that hasn’t been sorted out, it’s taken the push out of the deregulation process.”
Downing Street was contacted for comment.
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