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Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023: June to December 2023 Report

Volume 744: debated on Monday 22 January 2024

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade has, today, laid before Parliament a report outlining the progress made in reforming and revoking retained EU law.

The report fulfils our obligations under section 17 of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 —the REUL Act. This requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament at six-monthly intervals until June 2026.

Through this process, the Government have taken back control of the UK’s laws and have a road map to repeal or reform more than half of all the stock of regulations that were inherited from the European Union.

The REUL Act removed the special status of REUL at the end of 31 December 2023, and REUL which had not yet been revoked became “assimilated law”. EU principles of interpretation no longer apply to these laws. This removed the principle of EU law supremacy in the UK legal system for the first time since 1972. In total, more than 2,000 pieces of REUL have already been revoked or reformed. The Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 and the Procurement Act 2023 will together revoke hundreds more pieces of REUL.

The report sets out the considerable progress the Government have made since the REUL Bill received Royal Assent in June 2023. Twenty-six statutory instruments have been laid using powers under the REUL Act and other domestic legislation. Many of these instruments revoke redundant EU legislation or make significant legislative reforms, and the powers in the Act have already been used to remove over 100 pieces of REUL from the statute book by SI. Important specific reforms that have already been delivered include changes to employment law by reducing record-keeping requirements around working time regulations and simplifying the calculation of holiday pay entitlement. These changes will cut bureaucracy and could save industry up to £1 billion a year. In addition, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was able to reform REUL relating to the marketing and production of wine, which will strengthen the wine industry’s potential for growth and innovation. These reforms come alongside a number of important transport reforms, including to airport slot allocations, merchant shipping and aviation statistics.

But this is only the start. After 40 years living under EU laws, the Government road map includes a further 500 revocations and reforms of REUL in 2024, and we are on track to have repealed or reformed 3,424 regulations inherited from the EU by June 2026. Laws which are not earmarked for reform by 2026 are either already suited to the UK or are necessary to uphold our international obligations in treaties.

The report provides details of Departments’ ambitious plans for REUL reforms in 2024. These include policy areas such as product safety, clinical trials, carbon capture and metrology. These future reforms will support British businesses to innovate and grow the economy.

Today the Government have also updated the REUL dashboard, available on It now tracks 6,757 pieces of retained EU law—now known as assimilated law—concentrated over 400 unique policy areas.

The REUL Act is a key part of the Government’s smarter regulation programme, enabling Departments to deliver regulatory reform, reduce regulatory burdens and costs on UK businesses and consumers, and ensure regulations are fit for the UK economy. By regulating in accordance with our smarter regulation principles, the Government will ensure that regulation is deployed only where necessary, and its design and use is both proportionate and future-proof.

Alongside reforms to the stock of regulations, the Government’s new better regulation framework will put downward pressure on the flow of new regulation; encourage alternatives as far as possible; and allow for a full consideration of wider impacts, such as effects on competition and innovation. Significant progress is being made to ensure the wider landscape of regulators works for the UK.

The Government will be taking forward the plan to extend the regulators’ growth duty to Ofcom, Ofgem and Ofwat, with effect from 6 April 2024, subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary secondary legislation. The Department for Business and Trade’s call for evidence on the regulatory landscape invited views from businesses, consumers and regulators to establish areas that are working well and where regulators could improve, and a statement updating Parliament on its findings will be made in due course.

Next steps

The Government are committed to lightening the regulatory burden on businesses to help to spur economic growth. The second parliamentary report will be published in six months, to continue to keep Parliament updated.