UK Politics: Chancellor insists there will be 'no alignment' with EU after Brexit

Sajid Javid has insisted the UK will not align with EU rules from 2021
Sajid Javid says the UK will decide its own rules after Brexit

Sajid Javid has repeated the government's message that there will be no alignment between the UK and the EU after Brexit. Tradefair brings you the latest from UK politics...

"There will not be alignment, we will not be a rule taker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union."

- Chancellor Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid has raised eyebrows in the business community by insisting the UK will have "no alignment" with EU rules after Brexit.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the chancellor of the exchequer admitted that not all firms will benefit from the country's withdrawal from the European Union, but companies will have to "adjust" to changes in the regulatory environment.

He also stated an ambition to double the UK's annual economic growth.

'Not a rule taker'

The passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through parliament means the UK is on course to leave the European Union on January 31. There will then be an 11-month transition period, during which the country will continue to follow EU rules while permanent agreements on trade and other subjects are finalised.

An amendment to the bill means December 31 2020 is enshrined in UK law as the date when this transition period will end, but EU leaders such as Simon Coveney, Ireland's deputy prime minister, have expressed doubts about completing negotiations by this deadline.

Javid reiterated the government's position that the transition period can't be extended and insisted the UK will decide its own rules and regulations from January 2021 onwards.

"There will not be alignment, we will not be a rule taker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union - and we will do this by the end of the year," he said.

The chancellor didn't specify which EU rules the UK wanted to drop after Brexit and which might remain in place.

On the issue of businesses and the concerns many have about adjusting to new regulations after the transition period, Javid said all companies have known since 2016 that the country is leaving the EU.

"Admittedly, they didn't know the exact terms," he added.

"There will be an impact on businesses one way or the other; some will benefit, some won't."

Discussing the economy, Javid said he was aiming for a twofold increase in UK growth to between 2.7% and 2.8%.

He also said the country will continue to be "one of the most successful economies on Earth" once "we've got this agreement in place with our European friends".

Mark Carney, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, has made a less optimistic forecast for the economy, telling the Financial Times the trend growth rate is likely to be between 1% and 1.5%.

'Death knell'

The chancellor's comments caused some concern in the business community.

Tim Rycroft, chief operating officer of the Food and Drink Federation, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that his words sound "awfully like the death knell for the concept of frictionless trade with the EU".

One of the potential consequences of a move away from EU regulations from 2021 is an increase in food prices.

Mr Rycroft said some industries might benefit from the UK being able to decide its own trade rules, but added: "We also have to make sure the government clearly understands what the consequences will be for industries like ours if they go ahead and change our trading terms."

The Confederation of British Industry said the government shouldn't feel obliged to make a major departure from EU rules, but welcomed Javid's "ambitious" vision.

Events over the coming year, as the UK prepares to fully withdraw from the European Union, will undeniably have an impact on business sentiment and stock markets.

London's FTSE 100 made a strong finish to last week, rising by more than 0.9% on Friday, but was down by 0.4% on Monday morning (January 20).

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