Liz Truss: EU are 'worried' about her 'showing steel' says Tice
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The leadership hopeful has vowed to scrap or replace legislation deemed to hinder the UK’s economic growth. The announcement comes as the final two candidates vying to be the UK’s next PM came to blows this week over their tax proposals, with Rishi Sunak warning against a “huge borrowing spree” as Ms Truss defends her £30billion tax-cutting plans.
The Foreign Secretary’s campaign team said on Friday that she believes “a red tape bonfire” will encourage business investment and boost growth.
Ms Truss, who voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, is pitching herself as the “best candidate to deliver on the opportunities of Brexit” in a bid to gain the votes of Conservative members who will determine the winner of the race for No 10.
Ms Truss said if elected she would set a “sunset” deadline of the end of 2023 for every piece of EU-derived business regulation and assess whether it stimulates domestic growth or investment.
Industry experts would be tasked to create “better home-grown laws” to replace those failing the test, if they are not ditched altogether.
Ms Truss said: “As Prime Minister, I will unleash the full potential of Britain post-Brexit and accelerate plans to get EU law off our statute books so we can boost growth and make the most of our newfound freedoms outside of the EU.
“I have proved as trade secretary and in the Foreign Office that I am the candidate who can be trusted to deliver on the promise of Brexit and make Britain a higher-growth, higher-productivity powerhouse.
“EU regulations hinder our businesses and this has to change. In Downing Street, I will seize the chance to diverge from outdated EU law and frameworks and capitalise on the opportunities we have ahead of us”.
Joe Tomlinson, Professor of Public Law at the University of York, told Express.co.uk the promise represents “business as usual” for the Government, apart from the setting of a deadline. He acknowledged a deadline would be useful but questioned whether there will be enough time to carry out the review by the end of next year, particularly in light of Government plans to cut civil servant numbers.
Professor Tomlinson speculated that to replace retained EU law you would want experts in to suggest ways the UK can gain a competitive advantage, but it takes time to do that well. He explained that just to consider one EU regulation would require analysis of the potential economic impact, involving the study of data as well as consultation with stakeholders.
Professor Tomlinson said it would be difficult for the Government to realise Ms Truss’s pledge in the time frame given. He added: “When it comes down to it, there’s been a lot of talk about Brexit opportunities and few concrete examples. There’s a lot of generalised talk about regulations and EU red tape, but when you actually look at this stuff a lot of it is sensible.
“Finding the opportunities in this might be a little more difficult than a lot of people might think.”
Mr Sunak has said he would appoint a Brexit Minister to go through the remaining 2,400 EU laws still on the statute book if he were to beat Ms Truss in the contest to replace Boris Johnson. The minister would be expected to set out the first set of recommendations for rules to be scrapped or changed within 100 days of Mr Sunak entering No 10.
Ms Truss also said she would scrap EU Solvency II rules. These make pension funds and insurers set aside capital to prove they can withstand a major shock. The Foreign Secretary argued this would “unlock billions of investment into UK infrastructure”, but she would introduce new regulation to preserve the Solvency II’s original goal of protecting people’s investments.
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Mr Sunak has also pledged to ditch the Solvency II regulation to help investors put money into infrastructure assets.
Ms Truss’s pledge comes after former Brexit minister Lord Frost announced in September a review into the substance of retained EU law (REUL) in a bid to determine which departments, policy areas and sectors of the economy have the most.
The Government published the outcome of the review in June, arguing that its creation of a catalogue of REUL was the first step in speeding up regulatory reform and reclaiming the UK statute book.
Ministers said in a statement last month the Government would bring forward its Brexit Freedoms Bill, which aims to make it easier to amend, repeal or replace REUL to deliver the UK’s “regulatory, economic and environmental priorities”.
However, some warn the Bill could increase the power of ministers to make important policy changes via delegated legislation with less scrutiny from parliament.
The final two candidates for Prime Minister will tour the UK over the summer to take part in 12 hustings before Conservative Party members.
The country will find out who has won the leadership contest on September 5.
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