Theresa May should attach time limits to European Union laws when they are written into UK law to force civil servants to scrap or reform them, a senior economist at Margaret Thatcher’s favourite think tank has said.
Julian Jessop, the chief economist at the Institute for Economic Affairs, said the Prime Minister should attach “sunset clauses” to laws that are repatriated in the Great Repeal Bill ahead of Brexit.
These “use by” dates would force civil servants to review EU legislation at set milestones, for example within five or 10 years.
The news came as David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said between 800 and 1,000 statutory instruments were needed to pass EU rules into British law.
Mr Jessop said that adding in time limits would put a burden on civil servants to “review legislation properly” after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.
He said the clauses could focus on just some areas like environmental standards and the regulation of the labour market.
He said: “The working hours directive is a problem for the NHS because it does sometimes need people to work long hours.”
He added: “Writing in sunset clauses would be more credible because it puts the onus on people to justify these regulations rather than just staying by default.”
Mr Jessop added: “Brexit should provide an opportunity to reduce the burden of regulation on UK households and firms alike.”
The Daily Telegraph has launched a campaign for a bonfire of EU red tape in its 2020 manifesto to put Britain on a radically different course.
The Government will today publish a White Paper, entitled 'Legislating for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union', which will set out how ministers will convert EU law into UK law.
Mr Davis said: "Converting EU law into UK law, and ending the supremacy of lawmakers in Brussels, is an important step in giving businesses, workers and consumers the certainty they need.
"And it will mean that as we seek a comprehensive new economic partnership with the EU, our allies will know that we start from a position where we have the same standards and rules."
Officials said these will largely effect mechanical changes that ensure laws function properly after EU exit, and will be in addition to those necessary for other purposes than leaving the EU.
Statutory instruments have been used to implement much of the EU law already on the statute book, with almost 8,000 having been passed to do so.
One said: “The reform will be essential to make corrections to law that does not operate appropriately, with appropriate scrutiny for secondary legislation, to allow Parliament sufficient time to fully scrutinise substantive policy changes that will need primary legislation.”
The proposal already has the backing of Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative leader, Lord Lawson of Blaby, a former Tory Chancellor, and business leaders.
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, hailed the campaign and said the Government had to rid itself of 44 years of “burdensome” rules afflicting business.
Brexit provided the UK with an "opportunity" to axe needless regulations that have "accreted" since Britain joined the European Union, he said.
According to a House of Commons report, ministers will have to import up to 19,000 EU rules and regulations as part of the Great Repeal Bill, which will take the shape of a white paper published today.
EU regulations are estimated to cost Britain a total of more than £120billion per year.
The Common Agricultural Policy alone reportedly costs £10billion in direct costs and by inflating food prices.
It came as an analysis by Thomson Reuters found that more than 50,000 laws and regulations have been introduced in the UK as the result of EU red tape since 1990, including those which are no longer in force.
It said that EU regulations and directives have had a direct influence on swathes of British law including trade, agriculture, financial services and the environment. Since 2010 alone, 6,718 new EU laws have been introduced to the UK.
Business leaders and doctors have called for the end of the working time directive, which imposes such strict conditions on shift patterns that workforces cannot be as flexible as they need to be, and surgeons say it prevents them getting vital training.
Builders have been frustrated by rules on preserving newts, which are classed as "endangered" in Europe even though they are relatively common in the UK.
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