Happy 2nd Brexit Birthday! What are the benefits?
To celebrate two years since leaving the EU the UK Government sets out how far we’ve come
Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022
On this day two years ago Britain had just officially left the European Union. To mark the occasion, yesterday the UK Government published a 108 page document setting out what has been achieved, what further changes might be expected, what regulations and methods of conducting ourselves are being reviewed – and what the guiding principles and aspirations are for the future.
In the absence of an Executive Summary enumerating the full list of achievements, we thought that given the document’s size it would prove useful to provide a quick check-list for handy use and circulation to Brexit supporters and doubters alike.
The first section of the publication sets out some of the achievements so far, the second presents how current regulation will be reformed and retained EU law reviewed, and the third section provides vision statements for policy areas where Britain is now able to change its approach owing to Brexit.
The introduction to “The Benefits of Brexit” admits it is not an exhaustive list – and we would say amen to that, for we have noticed the absence of a number of post-Brexit achievements that would not or could not have happened were it not for Britain leaving the EU.
Nevertheless, the 46 achievements that it does provide are a timely antidote to the incessant claims from opponents that Brexit has provided no benefits at all. Such claims are very far from the truth – as readers will see.
The full Government document "The Benefits of Brexit" can be read here – and our opinions on the list and the document’s claims are given in the Observations section following our Facts4EU.Org summary.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary
46 results from Brexit:
Please note: This summary comes from the Government's paper - these are not our own conclusions.
1. Ended free movement and taken back control of our borders.
2. Restored democratic control over our lawmaking.
3. Restored the UK Supreme Court as the final arbiter of the law that applies in the UK.
4. Made it tougher for EU criminals to enter the UK.
5. Ended the acceptance of ID cards for most EU nationals travelling to the UK.
6. Taken back control of our waters.
7. Restored fair access to our welfare system.
8. Set our own tariff regime via the UK Global Tariff.
9. Committed £180 million to modernise and streamline our import and export controls by creating the Single Trade Window.
10. Given UK regulators the ability and the resources to make sovereign decisions about globally significant mergers.
11. Launched and are undertaking reviews of the status and substance of retained EU law.
12. Reintroduced our iconic blue passports.
13. Reviewing the EU ban on imperial markings and sales.
14. Enabling businesses to use a crown stamp symbol on pint glasses.
15. No longer paying EU Budget contributions.
16. £57 billion more for our NHS.
17. Establishing our own subsidy regime to support British businesses and innovation.
18. Reforming and simplifying our public procurement rules so that the public sector can buy more local goods and services.
19. Delivering eight Freeports in England and at least one Freeport in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
20. Back in control of our own VAT rates.
21. Reforming our alcohol duties.
22. Reducing domestic air passenger duty.
"The United Kingdom’s uncoupling from the rules, regulations and institutions of Brussels was never simply about the moment of our departure; the act of Brexit was not an end in itself but the means by which our country will achieve great things.
"And so that historic night two years ago marked not the final page of the story, but the start of a whole new chapter for our country, our economy and our people."
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, 31 Jan 2022
23. Rewriting the rules on support for places and regions to deliver on levelling up.
24. Establishing new Trade and Investment Hubs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a second Department for International Trade headquarters in Darlington.
25. Raising the contactless purchase limit to £100 – higher than EU would allow.
26. Removing the EU’s ‘Vnuk’ motor insurance law to prevent increased premiums (of £50 a year) for GB motorists.
27. Reducing the cost of holidays in Europe by introducing a zero rate of VAT.
28. Providing life-changing experiences and opportunities in education and training across the world through the Turing Scheme.
29. Saving UK consumers money by allowing them to do more of their shopping duty free.
30. Transforming the UK’s approach to clinical trials research and providing the British public with faster access to new, innovative medical treatments.
31. Reforming the damaging, bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy to properly reward farmers for their role as environmental stewards.
32. Banning the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter.
33. Ending the abhorrent, cruel practice of puppy smuggling and low-welfare pet imports.
34. Legislating for animal sentience to ensure all government policies take account of animal welfare.
35. Building animal welfare into our independent trade policy.
36. Using our new, independent voice in international fora to improve animal welfare.
37. Agreed trade deals with 70 countries plus the EU.
38. Became a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – it’s first in 25 years.
39. Retaken our seat at the World Trade Organization as an independent trading nation.
40. Established a more agile independent sanctions policy.
41. Established a strategic partnership with Australia and the USA (AUKUS).
42. Began accession negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
43. Launched trade deal negotiations with India.
44. Agreed more ambitious provisions for digital trade.
45. Launched our ambitious Export Strategy to support British businesses exporting globally.
46. Defending UK economic interests from unfair trading practices.
The publication of “The Benefits of Brexit” should be welcomed and applauded for listing not only the achievements of the country so far but also for mapping out the large amount of work – too much to mention in this brief report – currently being undertaken to get as much out of Brexit as possible. The full fruits of Brexit will take many years to realise but the plans revealed provide some comfort that the Government is looking at more than the short term gains.
For all its merits the publication is, however, a Government report and thus it does have a tendency to over-exaggerate a couple of achievements – such as the rather glib claims on borders and fisheries which are clearly a great disappointment to many.
Likewise it is noticeable that no mention is made of the Northern Ireland Protocol even though the Government is itself seeking to have it changed and the Prime Minister himself described it last week as “insane”. It is not admitted that only Great Britain and not the whole of the UK has left the EU. This is an inexplicable omission, almost as if Northern Ireland does not exist. It would have been better to acknowledge the restrictions of the Protocol and why it is intended that they will be overcome.
The sections on regulatory change, the reviews already underway and the principles for future ambitions are all helpful insights. Surprisingly, some genuine benefits of Brexit are underplayed or not included – and Facts4EU will rectify this in our future reports.
Overall the document is highly recommended and a sure sign of progress – but there still remains ‘unfinished business’ and until these are attended to it cannot truly be said Brexit is done.
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[Sources: The Benefits of Brexit, UK Government] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tuesday, 1 February, 2022
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