The pace of the government’s legislative preparations for Brexit has surged in the first half of this year with four times as many Brexit-related bills passed compared to H2 2018.
Thomson Reuters reported that 488 legislative pieces were passed from January to June, compared to 112 in the latter stages of last year.
The first six months of 2018 saw just one Brexit-related bill passed.
The increase in activity shows how much is being done to prepare for Brexit, but there is a lot more left to do.
Key legislative pieces, such as The Trade Bill which would enable the government to roll over existing EU trade deals still need to be passed, as well as The Financial Services Bill which would grant powers to implement future EU financial service regulations.
Establishing settled status for EU nationals living in the EU is also yet to be passed in The Immigration Bill.
Legislation department manager at Thomson Reuters, Charlotte Brady, commented that: “The uncertainty around the timing and manner of the UK’s departure from the EU has led to a significant proportion of drafters’ time being directed towards preparing UK legislation for Brexit, which has resulted in a reduced focus on the domestic agenda.
“This trend looks set to continue as even after Brexit, there will still be Brexit-related legislation which needs to be passed in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s departure.”
The surge in legislative action from the government should carry a warning for UK businesses about just how much work is needed to ensure as seamless a business and trade environment as possible following Brexit – especially those who are yet to begin preparing.
According to the FSB, only around one in seven small firms are ready for a no-deal Brexit, despite over 40% believing it would have a negative impact.
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