The government’s latest attempt to make Brexit work will fail

Boris Johnson says the Brexit Freedom’s Bill will help the UK become “the number one place invest and do business because of freedoms that we have."

Brexit anniversary

Tony Burke is president of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions

This week the Government announced it will introduce a Brexit Freedom’s Bill. Parts of the media who are still ‘gung ho’ for Brexit gleefully predicted a ‘bonfire of EU rules’ which are allegedly holding the UK back from enjoying the ‘fruits of leaving the EU’.

It’s part of Johnson’s attempt to re-boot his disastrous premiership since ‘partygate’ began ripping the Tories apart .The announcement also came out at the same time as an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report showing the impact Brexit has already had on the UK economy.

The figures contained in the ‘Annual Rates of Return of Private Non-Financial Corporations’ show the massive impact Brexit is already having on the economy and notably on manufacturing where the gross rate of return for companies fell from 13.9% and the net 16.9% in 2017, the first full year after the Brexit vote, to 10.3% gross and 9.1% net in 2020.

Boris Johnson says the Brexit Freedom’s Bill will help the UK become “the number one place invest and do business because of freedoms that we have.”

To do this he is proposing even more paper work and red tape as UK manufacturing standards diverge from EU standards. In 2023, UK companies will have to adopt the UK Conformity Assessed mark, moving away from the EU’s CE marking.

Many products currently manufactured or distributed in the UK and the EU carry the EU’s CE mark. This shows they meet high European legal requirements but from January1st 2023, the new UKCA logo will need to be displayed on many items sold in the UK.

If UK and EU regulations differ the results of tests carried out by UK conformity assessment bodies will no longer be recognised in the EU.

It won’t be possible to sell UKCA within the EU without reassessment by the EU.

This means that UK manufactured goods will have to meet two sets of safety regulations creating more paperwork for hard pressed companies.

Adding to the confusion the Government now says that the UKCA mark alone will not be permissible for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market.

Among other Johnson ‘initiatives’ include inviting UK business leaders to “turbo charge the economy.”  (Again!)

It will be interesting who gets invited to take part.

Many decent companies may prove reluctant – fearful that Johnson and the Tories toxic reputation and incompetence will rub off on them and the public begin to see there is little in the way of a Brexit premium coming their way.

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