British Beauty Council plays key role in Government’s reversal of Retained EU Law Bill

by | May 14, 2023

Last week, the Secretary of State for the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), Kemi Badenoch, announced the Government’s pull back on plans to automatically scrap any European legislation by the end of 2023.

The British Beauty Council welcomes the Government’s new approach which will maintain business confidence and ensure the continued safety of cosmetic regulation in the UK

When Britain left Europe, thousands of EU laws were enshrined into UK law to minimise disruption to businesses when the UK officially left in 2020 – around 4,800 laws were carried over. 

The Retained EU Law Bill was introduced into UK law at the end of the Brexit transition period ‘to revoke certain retained EU law’. Importantly, the Bill included a ‘sunset clause’ which could have seen all EU-founded laws that hadn’t already been enshrined into UK law, or replaced, disappear at the end of this year (31st December). 

The British Beauty Council, alongside the CTPA, raised concerns around the expiration of thousands of EU-laws, stating that the deadline could see cosmetics regulation – including the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation 1223/2009 – to fall by the wayside, without consideration. 

In a letter to the Department for Business and Trade, the Council said: ‘Our industry has significant concerns over the way in which the presented REUL Bill intends to introduce a systematic review of all retained EU legislation within such a short timeline. This threatens the way in which many sectors are regulated and could undermine the regulatory framework already in place which ensures consumer safety in the UK. Conducting the review under such strict and short deadlines also adds pressure to businesses… (And,) any further unnecessary uncertainty will impede investment and the use of resources towards UK growth as well as damage consumer confidence in our businesses.’

In response – not neglecting calls from numerous other industries – the Government has revoked the end-of-year deadline and is taking a different approach to the assimilation of EU law into UK legislation. 

On Friday, DBT announced that it would be amending the Bill for its return to Parliament next week. Instead of a so-called ‘Brexit bonfire’ in December, the Government will instead draw up the EU laws that it intends to revoke under the Bill by the end of 2023. 

This sees the removal of the ‘sunset clause’, and gives policymakers more time to review complex regulation which may still be reformed or revoked after proper assessment and consultation. 

Commenting, Chief Policy Officer Victoria Brownlie said: ‘It’s a relief that Government has listened and been prepared to change its approach to REUL at a time when business and consumer confidence is so needed. The potential removal of thousands of pieces of legislation that exist for very good reason; public protection, safety, animal welfare, employment rights – is something that cannot be rushed and needs industry wide consultation to ensure that they remain robust and fit for purpose. The Council made it clear that it doesn’t want a race to the bottom, more the time and space to ensure British laws are a gold standard for others to follow.”

It’s estimated that the Government has already changed or revised around 1,000 EU-era laws, however, writing in the Telegraph Kemi Badenoch MP said: ‘Getting rid of EU law in the UK should be about more than a race to a deadline’. 

All changes made to UK law in light of the Retained EU Law Bill can be tracked via this Government dashboard. The Schedule of retained EU Law can be found here

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