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Rolling Back Red Tape in the UK

On 19 April 2017, the day after the UK Prime Minister’s surprise General Election announcement, the Red Tape Initiative (RTI) was quietly launched in Westminster.

Established by Rt Hon Sir Oliver Letwin MP, who was in overall charge of the Cabinet Office until July 2016 and briefly head of the Brexit Unit after the Referendum, the RTI is a non-partisan project, bringing together “all three major UK-wide political parties to forge a consensus on the regulatory changes that could benefit both businesses and their employees in a post-Brexit Britain”.

Its advisory panel consists of leading Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians – leavers and remainers – and it has a legal panel of eight lawyers, six of whom are QCs.  We are pleased to be a member of that panel and Squire Patton Boggs will be providing pro bono legal assistance to the RTI.

Various bodies, including the TUC, CBI, BCC, IOD and FSB are working with the RTI to construct groups of experts from a range of industries to help identify changes that could quickly be made in specific areas of EU regulation, with immediate benefits for jobs and businesses in the UK.  The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy has written to the RTI, welcoming its creation and offering the cooperation of his officials.

The first three areas that the RTI will investigate are:

  1. the construction of housing;

  2. the construction of infrastructure; and

  3. training and apprenticeship.

It seems undeniable, whatever one’s view on Brexit, that there exist some EU regulations across a number of sectors which – uncontroversially – can be amended or repealed after the UK leaves the EU and it is these on which the RTI will focus.  It is hoped that the amendment and repeal of a small number of EU regulations will have a significant positive impact on the UK’s GDP, although there are some who consider that the overall public appetite for deregulation is rather less in practice than in theory.

Sir Oliver has stated that the RTI is keen to hear from chief executives of companies big and small.

© Copyright 2019 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP


About this Author

Jeremy Cape, Squire PB, tax attorney

Jeremy Cape is a tax and public policy partner in the London office, advising on a wide range of issues, including M&A, private equity, finance, restructuring and insolvency, and VAT. He has substantial experience in both domestic and global matters, with specific expertise regarding emerging markets and Africa, counselling both governments and taxpayers. His current initiatives include helping businesses deal with the introduction of VAT in the Gulf in 2018 and helping both UK and international businesses plan for Brexit.

Jeremy is frequently quoted and cited...