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UK will copy EU laws directly onto UK statute books to cut down red tape

The Government will copy and paste EU Directives onto the UK statute books wherever it can in a bid to cut down on bureaucracy and to help UK businesses.16 Dec 2010

The Government has published a new set of principles which it wants to govern the relationship between new EU laws and UK law. It wants to reduce the degree to which EU Directives are changed and tailored for the UK.

"The key to the new measures will be the principle of copying out the text of European directives directly into UK law," said a statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). "The direct ‘copy out’ principle will mean that British interpretations of European law are not unfairly restricting British companies."

"This move will bring an end to the charge of 'gold-plating'," said Business Secretary Vince Cable. "The way we implement our EU obligations must foster, not hinder, UK growth by helping British businesses compete with their European neighbours."

"The new principles are a first step towards working with British business and Europe to make sure that we introduce EU rules in a way that will not harm the UK economy," he said.

The Government will place a duty on ministers to conduct reviews of EU legislation every five years and consult with businesses on its impact.

"By cutting the red-tape that can reduce competitiveness and making sure that businesses are involved in the process both before, and after through five-yearly reviews, we can get the best deal possible for British companies," said Cable.

The Government's plan recommends that work on implementing EU laws begin as soon as agreement is reached by the EU to give businesses certainty, but it also recommends implementing the new rules as late as possible.

"Early transposition of EU regulations will be avoided except where there are compelling reasons for early implementation," said the BIS statement. "This will ensure that British businesses are not put at a disadvantage to their European competitors."