Thank you for contacting me about the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.
This Bill seeks to ensure businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom will continue to enjoy seamless internal trade, as they have done for centuries, after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
Hundreds of powers previously exercised at EU level will flow directly to the UK Government and the devolved administrations in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast. To allow each home nation to take full advantage of these new opportunities, and to ensure businesses can continue to trade freely trade across the UK, the Government needs to legislate to prevent any new barriers to trade from emerging within the UK as EU law falls away.
The Bill contains a Market Access Commitment to give UK businesses certainty that their goods and services can be traded seamlessly in all home nations. This will mean there is no difference in internal trade arrangements for businesses when the Transition Period ends, meaning total continuity and total confidence for businesses, consumers and investors across the UK.
I fully support the measures in this Bill because I know businesses across the country rely on being able to trade freely and seamlessly across our four home nations, as they have done for hundreds of years. Many businesses depend on internal trade more than with any other trading partner.
It has been claimed that this Bill seeks to remove autonomy from the Scottish Parliament. This couldn't be further from the truth: the Bill will give additional powers to the devolved governments in over 70 policy areas, including parts of employment law, land use and air quality, while also respecting the powers that have already been granted to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. The proposals have been designed to ensure that devolution can continue to work for everyone while ensuring seamless trade within the UK can continue.
The Bill's provisions would do nothing to stop any devolved government from introducing rules and regulations for their own businesses operating within their nation. What they do mean is that no administration will be able to block their businesses trading goods and services produced and sold legitimately in other parts of the UK.
Northern Ireland Protocol
The Northern Ireland Protocol contains inconsistencies that the UK and EU had intended to resolve by the end of the year. The end of the Transition Period is fast approaching, and with no agreement yet reached, the Government has proposed a safety net to protect the Union and ensure that the UK’s obligations under the Belfast Agreement are met. We must deliver on our promises to the people of Northern Ireland and this Bill allows us to do so.
As part of the Government's work into forming this Bill, a consultation ran up to 13 August to allow businesses to respond to the Government's intitial proposals as set out in the White Paper. I am pleased that there was overwhelming support for the proposals.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP