We can keep the best rules and cut the rest of the red tape
by Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP for Lichfield
Leaving the European Union presents us with enormous opportunities, not least the ability to jettison some of the nonsensical regulations that have seeped into our economy over the years. Regulations have made us less competitive on the world market than we might otherwise be.
During Foreign Office questions yesterday (28th March), I asked Boris Johnson about making a success of Brexit, and his reply was encouraging. He said that Brexit "will be an opportunity to get rid of some of the burdensome regulation that has accreted over the past 44 years, and I applaud the campaign that I know he supports and which has been outlined in the pages of this morning?s The Daily Telegraph."
He?s right. Before entering Parliament I worked in business, building radio stations and exporting broadcasting equipment to 48 countries worldwide, including the USA, China, New Zealand, Russia and the European Community, as it was known then. There are tremendous global opportunities for Britain. International and intercontinental trade is vital to our economy and this must be at the heart of our post-Brexit strategy.
In 2006, over half of our exports went to the EU. As of 2015, 56% went to countries outside of the EU not counting billions of pounds worth of goods that are shipped to ports like Rotterdam for immediate onward export far outside the EU. The value of our goods and services exported to non-EU countries now tops in excess of ?300 billion. Trade with the EU is still crucial, but there’s an ever-growing world market out there. The economies of Asia, Africa and the Americas are growing far faster than that of the EU.
Once Britain has left, the US economy will be bigger than the EU and President Trump is anxious to secure free trade between our two nations.
But to enable British business to compete in the global economy, we must ensure that unnecessary regulations which we have been forced to include from the EU are scrapped, while at the same time safeguarding workers? rights and protecting their safety at work.
It is NOT about making Britain a low wage high risk economy as Corbyn ranted at Prime Minister May today (29th March). That just demonstrates his failure to understand how the economy works and his innate mistrust of the business community.
Shorn of the ball and chain of excessive regulation, businesses can thrive after Brexit.
The Common Agricultural Policy inflates food prices and condemns the lives of African farmers unable to sell their produce. The Common Fisheries Policy has decimated the British fishing industry. Meanwhile, EU energy rules mandate that VAT cannot be removed from gas and electricity bills, preventing the government from acting to cut energy costs.
From light bulbs and vacuum cleaners to farming and the automotive industry, almost every facet of our lives has been permeated with EU regulations. While some of these laws are sensible and ones we would wish to keep, others are absurd and a number are downright damaging to our economy.
As we exit the EU, our aim must be to identify and discard trivial and damaging regulations while preserving the beneficial. No matter how many times die-hard remainers say it, Britain will not descend into some sort of Wild West with no protections for workers and consumers.
We have but one chance to get this right. If we are not careful, burdensome EU regulations could become embedded within British law for good. For decades the EU’s one-size-fits-all approach has influenced the policy-making process in Whitehall and Parliament. No longer.
Politicians and civil servants must seize the opportunity to build a regulatory framework which puts the needs of British business, workers, and consumers first and allows them to compete globally. Our economy can finally be geared to meet the challenges of the whole world rather than just the EU.
The UK has a bright future. Brexit is not a challenge, but rather a wonderful opportunity to accelerate our status as a global trading nation.
As we begin the complex process of extricating ourselves form the European Union, we must discard stifling and excessive EU regulations. Only then can this vision of a global Britain in the 21st century become a reality.
Our best days as a nation lie ahead of us.