11th May 2023

Govt abandons REUL sunset clause

The Government has backed down on plans to sunset vital consumer protection laws at the end of the year as part of the Retained EU Law Bill.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
The Bill has been a major distraction for Government departments at a time when resources could have been allocated to tackling more pressing issues for consumers

CTSI has welcomed the decision to scrap the sunset clause for most EU derived legislation, but has expressed concern at how ‘close to the wire’ the potential loss of vital consumer protections came.

CTSI, along with its Safeguarding Our Standards coalition of charities and Which?, has been campaigning tirelessly to call for a delay to the Government’s proposed Retained EU Law Bill (REUL). Yesterday it was announced that the Bill’s sunset clause, which would have meant the expiry of more than 4,000 pieces of legislation on 31 December 2023, has been scrapped.

CTSI urged the Government to change tack last year, with more than 90% of the Institute’s members calling for the Government to delay the introduction of the Bill, citing product safety and food safety as areas of particular concern. The Institute says it is pleased the Government has now listened to the voices of key stakeholders representing consumers and businesses, and welcomed the adoption of a more phased approach.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI, said: “While the announcement from Government is welcome, it is worth remembering how close to the wire this has been, and that the Bill has been both a mammoth undertaking and a major distraction for Government departments at a time when resources could have been allocated to tackling more pressing issues for consumers. The focus on Retained EU Law has also potentially created a logjam where progress in other areas, including the long-awaited product safety review, has stalled. We will now be reviewing the 600 pieces of legislation which are still at risk of being scrapped, to ensure that no vital protections for UK consumers or businesses are lost.

“The Government needs to take the time to consult with stakeholders to properly assess what can be revoked from EU law, and what changes need to be made to ensure we don’t risk undermining important consumer protection laws and that we have a robust system that meets the needs of the modern day”.

CTSI and Which? had tabled a number of amendments to clauses in a bid to protect safety protections from falling through the cracks. The amendments sparked debates that the Government could not ignore.

Part of the Government’s announcement was that 600 laws would be revoked on 31 December 2023 and CTSI, along with its experts, will be reviewing these laws to ensure that nothing is lost that will harm consumers or businesses.

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