Campaigners warn Great Repeal Bill could have “fundamental long-term effects on rights, poverty and the environment”

Thursday, 13 July, 2017

The government’s ‘Great Repeal Bill’ could have “fundamental long-term effects on rights, poverty and the environment” unless significantly reformed, warn campaign groups Another Europe is Possible and Global Justice Now today.

As the bill receives its first reading in the House of Commons, campaigners claim that the bill will hand sweeping powers to the government to make changes on a very wide range of regulation from working regulations to environmental protection to consumer protections.

In a dossier entitled Decimating Rights: The Consequences of the Great Repeal Bill, campaigners outline areas of particular concern:

  1. Workers’ rights in particular the rights of agency workers, protections for working time, and enforcement of the prohibition on discrimination.
  2. The environment, ensuring that environmental protections are effective, and polluters bear the cost of pollution, water safety, and air quality.
  3. Human rights like prohibitions on the torture trade and protections for privacy.
  4. Consumer protection particularly the regulation of dangerous chemicals and food safety.
  5. Financial regulation particularly in the event that Brexit negotiators are unable to secure the concessions required to maintain the City’s access to the EU.

Dr Sam Fowles, author of the report, said: “The Great Repeal Bill creates the opportunity for the government to remove rights and protections to which it objects without going through the usual mechanisms of democratic accountability. We have highlighted those policy areas to which the Conservative party has already shown hostility, including protections for the environment, workers, and individual privacy. These rights are at risk unless the bill is amended.”

Nick Dearden, spokesperson for Global Justice Now and Another Europe is Possible said: “After the terrible disaster at Grenfell Tower, there can be no doubt as to the terrible effect that deregulation can have. While big business calls for cuts, it’s those with least voice in our society who suffer the consequences. That’s why we can’t allow the government carte blanche over some of our most protected and cherished rights and protections. As currently laid out, the Great Repeal Bill could have fundamental long-term effects on rights, poverty and the environment. We call on all MPs to make significant changes to this bill before it proceeds.”

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