CMA and food safety regulators ‘struggling to recruit’ post-Brexit, says MPs
British food safety and competition regulators are “struggling to recruit and retain the skills they need to regulate effectively” post-Brexit, according to a Westminster committee of MPs.
A new report from the cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today said some regulators need more staff post-Brexit to handle new responsibilities, leading to labour shortages.
This has left the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to compete with the private sector to recruit competition lawyers and economists to cover these roles.
Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have struggled to hire enough vets and toxicologists to regulate food safety in British abattoirs.
The PAC also said the CMA is being hamstrung post-Brexit by the fact it cannot share “confidential information with the European Commission or member states in merger, competition or consumer enforcement cases”.
These trends may be exacerbated by recent government guidance that has asked regulators to cut their headcounts by between 20 and 40 per cent.
PAC chair and Labour MP Dame Meg Hillier said: “Regulators and policy departments should now identify the impact of potential cuts on regulatory risk and set out where significant changes in the regulatory model would be needed to mitigate them.
“The regulators should work together on ways to address the loss of regulatory cooperation arrangements with the EU, and in six months we expect a progress report on how the arrangements set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement are being taken forward.”
A spokesperson for the CMA said that “we welcome the committee’s report and will consider its findings thoroughly”.