techUK calls for more Brexit detail to help the country’s tech economy

Bill “a positive step to giving businesses clarity”, says the trade group – but its Deputy CEO says “many important questions” are still unanswered

Posted 17 July 2017 at 8:59am by

The body that speaks for the UK information technology vendor community says there needs to be a lot more practical guidance for the sector in the wake of last week’s publication of the so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’.

According to a blog post from techUK’s Deputy CEO, Antony Walker, while the UK technology community stands ready to be “the growth engine of the UK economy post-Brexit”, for that to happen suppliers need a predictable regulatory framework to be in place the second the UK leaves the EU.

The problem, though, is that Walker doesn’t see enough of a basis for that in the just-published European Union (Withdrawal Bill).

Where techUK wants to see more detail is how specific EU laws will be converted to the UK statute book, such as mergers and acquisition rules, measures around public procurement, and technical changes to reporting processes.

As these will all have an impact on how businesses operate, requiring them to adapt their own processes and procedures, businesses need data now – not when the Bill’s passage through Parliament concludes – on how the older EU rules will work, how regulators will be resourced and what new powers they will have.

That’s not the only issue, though: “We are also disappointed that the Bill does not set out clear measures for how ‘soft rules’, such as Commission guidance surrounding the interpretation of current EU law, will be incorporated.

“Guaranteeing legal opinions of the European Court of Justice are retained in Common Law is important, but ensuring that UK regulators taking on new functions interpret the law in the same way as EU is equally crucial to a smooth transition to a post-Brexit system.”

Walker calls for the government to set out how it will respond to new EU legislation post-Brexit, as “businesses want to understand how unnecessary regulatory divergence will be avoided that would create new barriers to trade for all businesses, including the tech sector”.

Brexit and its impact on both the vendor community but also the public sector has emerged as a key theme for September’s upcoming Think Digital Government 2017 – go here to make sure you can join the debate.