Rishi Sunak to chair Whitehall taskforce to lead bonfire of EU red tape

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Christopher Hope
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Number 10 said the new committee will "refresh the strategy on making better regulation outside the EU, review existing rules and cut red tape for businesses". - BEN STANSALL 
Number 10 said the new committee will "refresh the strategy on making better regulation outside the EU, review existing rules and cut red tape for businesses". - BEN STANSALL

Rishi Sunak has been charged by Boris Johnson with leading a bonfire of Brussels red tape now that the UK has left the European Union.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is to chair a new Better Regulation Committee in Downing Street which will focus on cutting EU red tape for businesses.

The Prime Ministers said he wanted the changes to allow the Government "to seize opportunities in the UK as an independent nation".

Number 10 said the new committee will "refresh the strategy on making better regulation outside the EU, review existing rules and cut red tape for businesses".

A source said: "With newfound control of our laws, reviewing and reforming regulation will be at the forefront of the Government’s agenda to take advantage of opportunities outside of the EU."

Officials said it would "coordinate and drive through an ambitious programme of regulatory reform to over the parliament. It will push the boundaries, boost creative thinking and inject pace at the centre of the Government".

Mr Sunak said: "Now that we have left the European Union, we have an opportunity to do things differently and this government is committed to making the most of the freedoms that Brexit affords us.

“This isn't about lowering standards, but about raising our eyes to look to the future - making the most of new sectors, new thinking and new ways of working.”

Mr Sunak's committee will be backed by a unit of civil servants who will be charged with carrying out "a series of systematic deep dives... into EU-derived regulation to identify and implement agreed changes".

Officials made clear that "any reforms would not come at the expense of the UK’s high standards in areas like workers’ rights and the environment".

Ministers will also seek to "engage with MPs and businesses to look at the best opportunities where the UK can take advantage of its newfound freedoms" and make the UK more business-friendly.

The membership of the new Cabinet Committee and further details on MP engagement will be set out in due course, Number 10 said.

Ministers hope that this new approach to regulation could help speed up infrastructure projects that create jobs and accelerate the development of science and technology.

Officials are also to look at how to improve processes for start-ups and small businesses across the country.

The new committee is understood to be the first of several internal groups which will strengthen MrJohnson's control over delivering his agenda through Government.

Sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Johnson is expected to use these committees to enforce his will on Government rather than an imminent Cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Johnson hinted at an incoming bonfire of EU red tape last month when he told The Sunday Telegraph that he wanted the UK to be able to move away from the EU rulebook.

He said then: "We don’t want to diverge for the sake of diverging. But we’re going to want to do things differently where that’s useful for the British people.”

On Jan 1 - the first day that the UK had slipped its formal ties to the EU - the 5 per cent rate of VAT on sanitary products - referred to as the "tampon tax" - was abolished.

EU law required members to tax tampons and sanitary towels at 5 per cent, treating period products as non-essential. Mr Sunak committed to scrapping the tax in his March Budget.