HomeInsightsGovernment launches consultation on service sector exclusions from the UK Internal Market Act 2020

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The 2020 Act is designed to preserve the flow of goods and services across the UK now that the UK has left the EU single market. Under the 2020 Act trade and business can continue as usual across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with no additional burdens or barriers for business.

The consultation seeks information on which services sectors should be excluded from the Mutual Recognition and Non-Discrimination rules introduced in the 2020 Act.

The consultation also aims to gather further information on whether any changes should be made to the exclusions carried over by the 2020 Act that could help enhance the services market across the UK, and on other ways to help strengthen the UK’s internal market for services. This will allow businesses to continue operating as they have done, unless there is a good reason to change.

The UK government is asking businesses to provide information on how they operated under the services rules pre-2021, to ensure the current list of excluded services sectors under the 2020 Act remains well-targeted. The Government says that this will enable the flexible application of new rules and deliver certainty for businesses.

Exclusions of this kind were previously in place under the EU Services Directive (2006/123/EC). The consultation is primarily a continuity measure designed to enable certain services to continue operating as they did previously under the EU Single Market. However, now that the UK has left the EU and the transition period has ended, the consultation also seeks views on where the UK can improve on the current arrangements.

The Government is particularly seeking views from service industry regulators with experience of how the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 apply to their areas. In addition, the Government encourages businesses, business representative organisations, think tanks and other bodies with expert knowledge of services regulation to submit responses.

The consultation seeks information and views on:

  • any current cases in which the requirement to recognise authorisations issued by a regulator in another part of the UK is disapplied under the 2009 Regulations;
  • why it may be appropriate to formalise such instances under the 2020 Act in the form of specific exclusions from the mutual recognition principle; if there are no good reasons for these instances to be formalised, they will not be included in the list of exclusions;
  • why any current derogation under the 2009 Regulations should not be added to the exclusions lists
  • how the exclusions list at Schedule 2, derived from the 2009 Regulations, could be amended to reflect the fact that the UK has now left the EU; and
  • any other ways that the UK’s internal market for services could be further enhanced.

To read the Government’s press release in full and for a link to the consultation, click here.