On 16 July, the Government published a White Paper on the UK Internal Market. The White Paper sets out the Government’s plans to ensure businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom will continue to enjoy seamless internal trade, as we have done for centuries, when we leave the Transition Period later this year.
I am fully supportive of these proposals because I know businesses across the country rely on being able to trade freely and seamlessly across the four home nations, as they have done for hundreds of years. Many businesses depend on trade with the home nations more than any other trading partner.
As part of the White Paper published on GOV.UK here, the Government has launched a consultation closing on 13 August, which can be found here. This is a vital piece of work for businesses across the UK and I urge business owners to respond to the consultation with their views on the Government’s proposals.
Summary of the UK Internal Market White Paper
The UK’s internal market has existed for hundreds of years and supports jobs and livelihoods across our country. English businesses today are key suppliers to many industries concentrated in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and English retailers proudly stock goods from across the Union.
At the end of the Transition Period, hundreds of powers previously exercised at EU level will flow directly to the UK Government and devolved administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. To allow each home nation to take full advantage of these new opportunities presented by Brexit, and to ensure businesses can continue to trade freely trade across the UK as they do now, the Government will legislate to maintain the UK Internal Market and to ensure that new barriers to trade do not emerge within the UK as EU law falls away.
The White Paper contains a **Market Access Commitment** to give UK businesses certainty that their goods and services can be traded seamlessly in all home nations. The Government’s proposals will mean there is **no difference in internal trade arrangements** for businesses at all when the Transition Period ends – meaning total continuity and total confidence for businesses, consumers and investors across the UK.
I know how important this principle is to businesses in South west Hertfordshire.
Without action to preserve the status quo of seamless internal UK trade, you and other businesses could face barriers to trade from regulatory differences in different parts of the UK. This could undermine fair and open competition in the UK Internal Market, discourage investment in the UK, and introduce additional and unnecessary bureaucracy and costs. For example, Scotch Whisky producers could lose access to supply from English barley farmers, unnecessarily putting jobs at risk in both nations.
As we recover from the effects of COVID-19, now is not the time to put at risk the centuries old-principle that any part of the UK can sell to another unhindered. The principles in the White Paper will prevent any part of the UK from blocking products or services from another part - giving businesses certainty that your goods and services will continue to be able to be freely traded in all home nations, giving you the regulatory clarity you need, ensuring that supply chains continue to operate smoothly and the costs of doing business stay as low as possible.
Responding to the consultation
It is important that Government collects views from a wide range of businesses across the UK and I strongly urge business owners to take part in the consultation and make their views known.
You can respond to the consultation online at: https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/trade/uk-internal-market