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CTSI voices concern over hurried timetable for EU Law reforms

Posted 01/11/22

CTSI urges rethink on timetable for Retained EU Law Bill, as “pace and scale of change is daunting”. 
 
CTSI, has called on the Government for a delay in the timetable for the proposed Retained EU Law Bill, because of serious concerns about the scale of change and the potential that vital protections for both consumers and business could be lost.  The organisation has reaffirmed that legislative change on this scale cannot and should not be rushed.
 
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform Bill), would involve the “sunsetting” of retained EU law by the end of next year, if the laws are not amended or changed. This would cover over 2400 pieces of legislation across 21 Government Departments and could involve the rewrite of many of our domestic laws. 
 
A significant number of areas of Trading Standards work is underpinned by such legislation including: 
• Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations – which provide a cornerstone of huge protections to consumers from misleading claims, scams and rogue traders
• Food legislation – including requirements to label allergens and restrictions on the use of decontaminants on meat, such as the chlorine washes on chicken
• Weights and Measures regulations
• Animal Health
• Product Safety
• Intellectual Property
• Business Protection from misleading marketing
 
John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI said:
 
“So much of the work that Trading Standards does is underpinned by what is currently retained EU Law. There are always opportunities to modernise, innovate and drive reform which we naturally embrace especially now the UK has left the EU.  
 
However, we do have a number of significant concerns.
 
Firstly, the timetable is very tight for such a mammouth rewrite of much legislation underpinning the work of Trading Standards. As we understand it, even if there is an opportunity to extend the legislative timetable by 2026, this is a huge catalogue of legislation which will need to be considered the scale of which has not been seen for decades.  
 
The Government must ensure that vital consumer protections are not lost inadvertently through a desire to rush things through. This is particularly pertinent right now, given consumers are facing record levels of detriment and that is set to get worse as our economic challenges continue. Parliament must also have the right input to these decisions rather than just Ministers in view of the ramification of getting it wrong and the impact on members of the public who at the end of the day are also voters.
 
In addition, at a time when businesses need as much certainty as possible the sooner the Government can provide this, the better. While regulatory reform can provide the UK with an opportunity to do things differently, this might not always be advantageous, particularly if regulatory divergence makes it more difficult for our businesses to compete or enter markets. Right now, businesses need stability not more uncertainty which hurried legislative changes are likely to bring.
 
Acknowledging the opportunity and necessity for reform but that this must be a thorough process given the right amount of time to get it right the logical response by the new Government would be to ensure that the sunset deadline of December 2023 is simply extended out to December 2026. This would ensure critical protections remain in place to ensure consumer confidence and that businesses have the necessary certainty, both of which will be critical factors in the helping to ensure the UKs essential economic recovery.”
 
ENDS
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) 
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is a national not for profit established in 1881 which supports the UK’s trading standards profession and works to protect consumers and safeguard honest businesses.  CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services at local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk
Please contact CTSI Press Office: pressoffice@tsi.org.uk for any queries. 

 



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