UK Unveils Deregulation Reforms, Scraps EU Labor Rules

    UK Unveils Deregulation Reforms, Scraps EU Labor Rules
    Last updated May 11, 2023
    Image credit: Getty Images [via BBC News]


    • UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has unveiled a package of deregulatory reforms, including changes to the application of the EU working time directive in the country, as some 600 EU regulations are expected to be revoked by the end of the year.[1]
    • The proposal, put forward on Wednesday, seeks to help firms cut costs and promote competition by reducing reporting requirements of the working time regulations and limiting the length of non-compete clauses to three months.[2]
    • The Dept. for Business and Trade estimates that businesses could save around £1B a year if they are released from recording the number of hours each employee works, a move that the government claims would not impact workers' rights.[3]
    • This package of reforms, which is the first of a series of deregulation announcements expected this year, does not change the maximum 48-hour week requirement and, according to the government, maintains Britain's employment standards.[4]
    • Badenoch has also confirmed the UK has pulled back on its plan to automatically revoke all EU regulations by the end of 2023, shelving the "sunset clause" enshrined in the EU Retained Law Bill and replacing it with a list of laws specifically selected for repeal.[5]
    • The change will reportedly be made through an amendment when the bill — introduced during Liz Truss' premiership — returns to Parliament next week.[6]


    Left narrative

    The British government is, outrageously, seeking to deprive its own citizens of fundamental labor rights in the post-Brexit era. The announced package of reforms, which will scrap some EU labor regulations, will very likely encourage unscrupulous employers to exploit workers by forcing them to take long, exhausting shifts.

    Right narrative

    It is completely false that the reforms proposed by the government on Wednesday threaten Britain's world leading record on workers' rights. Taking advantage of its new Brexit freedoms, the UK is adapting rules and regulations in the best interest of the nation, so that workers and firms can build a flourishing economy.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the United Kingdom will apply to rejoin the EU by January 2049, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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