Government presents plan to protect jobs after transition ends
The UK government has laid out plans to deliver on its manifesto commitment to ensure businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom will continue to enjoy seamless internal trade when the UK leaves the transition period at the end of the year.
From 1 January 2021, powers in at least 70 policy areas previously exercised at an EU level will flow directly to the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast for the first time. This will give the devolved administrations power over more issues than they have ever had before, without removing any of their current powers.
Powers are set to return across a raft of areas, including regulations for energy efficiency of buildings, air quality and animal welfare. To ensure businesses can continue to trade seamlessly across the UK, the government has announced new legislation to preserve access to all parts of the UK for goods and services.
Under plans now open for consultation, the government announced it intends to strengthen and maintain the coherence of the UK’s internal market, guaranteeing the continued ability of all UK companies to trade unhindered in every part of the United Kingdom, while ensuring the prosperity and wellbeing of people and businesses across all four nations.
"The UK’s internal market has functioned seamlessly for centuries. When we exit the transition period at the end of the year, we want to ensure the most successful political and economic union of nations in the world continues to grow and thrive," said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
"This plan protects jobs and livelihoods. Without these necessary reforms, the way we trade goods and services between the home nations could be seriously impacted, harming the way we do business within our own borders."
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove explained that the plan is a power surge to the devolved administrations – giving them powers in dozens more areas.
"As powers flow back from Brussels to the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff – as well as to the UK government – we want to build on the good progress we have already made. We will develop new ways of working together and learning from each other to help create more opportunities for jobs and investment for businesses and citizens across the United Kingdom," said Mr Gove.
"So we will work over the coming weeks with the devolved administrations in Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh on a new structure for how we can co-operate better and share ideas, and we will be bringing proposals to the table to agree a way forward. We should be learning from one another, combining the expertise of each nation to share ideas, innovation and, where appropriate, put in place processes for voluntary cooperation."
A four-week consultation has also opened, sourcing views from businesses, experts, civil society, and consumer groups across all four nations of the UK.
The proposals, according to the government, aim to balance the principles and successes of devolution, with the need to provide regulatory clarity to businesses, ensuring that rules and standards across the UK are mutually recognised, so that trade is as easy for business as possible.