Red tape cuts
Johnson consults on Singapore of Europe plan
Boris Johnson wants to create a low-tax state like Singapore
Boris Johnson will meet 30 business leaders today to discuss measures aimed at reducing red tape.
The prime minister will outline plans to reform Brussels legislation in an attempt to transform the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation “Singapore of Europe”.
He has asked a cross-department Better Regulation Committee, led by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, to examine which regulations can be reformed.
There was an immediate backlash last week when it emerged that the plans may lead to an erosion of workers’ rights, such as the 48-hour maximum working week, which were enshrined under EU law.
The UK government denied there were any plans to weaken workers’ protection and said in many cases UK law was already stronger.
Mr Sunak said that now Britain was out of the EU it had a chance to “do things differently”. He has assured the City that Brexit will deliver Big Bang 2.0, a reference to the de-regulation in the 1980s under the Thatcher government which unleashed a boom in financial services and enterprise.
“This isn’t about lowering standards, but raising our eyes,” said Mr Sunak.
Commentators have noted that the idea of turning Britain into a Singapore-style state have been said previously by Tory ministers.
Howard Davies, chairman of NatWest (RBS) Group and the former director of the London School of Economics, said it had been promoted by former chancellor Philip Hammond.
In December 2018, the Foreign Secretary at the time, Jeremy Hunt, had praised Singapore’s achievement in growing from a tiny territory devoid of natural resources into the world’s eighth-richest country.