Boris Johnson says 'big exercise' will herald post-Brexit business shake-up

Boris Johnson has said that a “big exercise” is underway to shake up business taxes and regulation in the aftermath of Britain’s trade deal with the EU.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hinted a series of post-Brexit regulatory changes. Picture: Paul Grover/WPA Pool/Getty

The prime minister said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is scrutinising a series of post Brexit changes, and will seek to use the "legislative and regulatory freedoms to deliver for people who felt left behind.”

Amid continuing criticism from the fishing industry over the deal struck with Brussels, Mr Johnson said he accepted that “the devil is in the detail” of the agreement, but stressed the UK would not take a backwards step when it comes to other areas.

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In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Johnson said that "a great government effort" has gone into compiling plans for when the Brexit transition period ends later this week.

But he said it "perhaps would not have been fruitful" to discuss them publicly during negotiations, as he listed animal welfare regulations, data and chemicals alongside existing plans to establish low tax freeports, which have been accused by critics of helping tax evasion.

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The deal contains commitments not to regress on standards for workers' rights and environmental standards, which is a bone of contention for some Brexiteers.

However, Mr Johnson said: "All that's really saying is the UK won't immediately send children up chimneys or pour raw sewage all over its beaches. We're not going to regress, and you'd expect that.

“The compromise reached is that both sides will now be able to seek redress through an independent arbitrator, such as the imposition of tariffs, should they feel the level playing field for their businesses has been undermined by the other refusing to raise its standards.”

Mr Johnson conceded that the deal, struck on Christmas Eve, “perhaps does not go as far as would like” over access to EU markets for financial services,” but said the agreement brought to an end a “long and fractious period.”

He added: “I think this gives us a basis for a new friendship and partnership that should attract people who love Europe and want to have a great relationship with it, who want to feel close to it.”

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