On Wednesday 10th May, the UK government issued its statement on "Smarter regulation to grow the economy". It focused on ways to improve regulation across the board with the aim of reducing burdens for business, pushing down the cost of living and driving economic growth. 

Significantly, the government has also accepted that the "sunset clause" contained in the Retained EU law Bill, whereby as many as 4,000 pieces of legislation would have fallen away by the end of this year, was unrealistic and it will now review legislation first.  Instead, around 600 targeted regulations will be dropped by the end of this year. We have therefore been saved from the "bonfire" of EU law.  

The regulatory statement particularly focuses on employment law: the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations will be reformed to amend consultation requirements, and the government also intends to legislate when parliamentary time allows to limit the length of non-compete clauses to three months, providing employees with more flexibility to join a competitor or start up a rival business after they have left a position. There are also amendments to the rules on recording working time. For more information on the employment law issues, see here.

We have said before that much advertising law is "soft law" contained in the CAP and BCAP Codes and would therefore be unaffected by the REUL Bill. However, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 underly the CAP Code and will specifically be retained as part of the new Digital Markets, Consumer and Competition Bill.  The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 will remain and not fall away at the end of this year as originally envisaged by the Retained EU Law Bill.  The government's room for manoeuvre on IP protection was narrow in any event.

The real significance in this decision is that it leaves open the possibility of the UK moving to a closer relationship with the EU in future, perhaps via the Single Market or the Customs Union. That's why the Brexiteers are up in arms. For them, the REUL Bill was intended to ensure that Brexit is completely irreversible. As a result, there is likely to be further political wrangling over this decision, not least within the confines of the Conservative Party.