Brexit: Heidi Hautala says talk of sovereignty is 'pathetic'
It comes amid weeks of negotiations from both sides of the channel after Britain and the EU sought to cement a post-Brexit trade deal. Talks went right up to the line, with the transition period deadline set for December 31.
Now, Victoria Hewson, Head of Regulatory Affairs at the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank, has said the UK should aim to cut its own regulatory burdens after the period ends.
She also claimed the EU is eager for the UK to operate under its own regulatory standards, which the free-market proponent criticised as anti-competitive.
She told Express.co.uk: “I’d reflect that it’s interesting that the EU is desperate to tie us to their regulations.
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“Not so much their substantive regulations on goods and services, but these so-called level playing field regulations which I think is really interesting because that’s an admission by them that by not being tied to those regulations the UK would be more competitive.
“There is no way of spinning it [other than] this is the EU admitting that their regulations make them uncompetitive.”
State aid rules – also referred to as ‘level playing field’ regulations – aim to ensure that businesses in one country do not have unfair advantages over businesses in another country.
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The rules are an important part of the EU’s single market, in which member states allow people, goods, and services to move freely between them.
Level playing field rules may mean that Governments and businesses have to adhere to certain regulations such as how much tax they are subject to, what environmental rules they must follow, and – crucially – how much support a Government can give to a business in the form of state aid.
During negotiations, level playing field rules ended up being a difficult impasse for both sides.
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The EU wanted the UK to adhere to such rules in order for it to have tariff- and quota-free access to the EU market.
However, Ms Hewson has criticised such regulations, claiming the UK’s competitiveness would be stifled.
She continued: “if we didn’t have to follow those regulations, our businesses would be able to out-compete [the EU].
“Which I think is fascinating – that they’re essentially bluntly admitting that – because usually when the EU passes regulations they will do these sorts of impact assessments, and they always deny that they will cause major costs to productivity and competitiveness.
“By the way, this is not a race to the bottom. You can still maintain high standards. But by stripping away unnecessary bureaucracy then that could really be very good for our entire economy.”
However, some economists argue that regulation is crucial – particularly in regards to limiting state aid.
Thomas Pope, senior economist at the Institute for Government think tank, told Express.co.uk earlier this year that government hand-outs to businesses could prove harmful and costly to the British taxpayer.
He said that post-Brexit, the UK would be in a position to “design a better system than the EU”.
Meanwhile there could also be changes to UK employment law with worker protection potentially taking a hit.
According to HR Director magazine: “Changes could be made to the Working Time Regulations, including the right of workers on long-term sick leave to accrue holiday and carry over unused holiday entitlement to the next leave year, limiting holiday pay to basic pay and abolishing the 48 hour limit on working time.”
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