Liz Truss urges colleagues to back May’s deal and says UK should slash red tape
Chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss called on her colleagues in the Conservative party to support Theresa May's Brexit deal today, while painting a picture of a post-European Union Britain with less “red tape” and a new regulatory system.
The Treasury number two also used a speech to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) conference this morning to say she was in favour of a Canada-style free-trade deal, which would see Britain outside a customs union or single market.
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Truss said wanted to “strongly encourage colleagues of mine from the Conservative party and other parties to back the Prime Minister’s deal so we can get on with the next phase of negotiations, which is the really important part of us being able to secure a good trade deal with the European Union”.
Truss said that leaving the EU gave Britain the opportunity to “shake up the way things work” in the country's regulations, infrastructure, and government departments, although did not elaborate on whether membership of the bloc currently prevented this.
Painting a picture of a new regulatory system, the chief secretary to the Treasury said: “I think simple is better because it’s harder to game the system, it’s harder for people to be able to lobby selectively if it’s a simple transparent system.”
In particular, Truss said: “A single utilities regulator could help make it easier for new entrants in the utilities market.”
“Often red tape can get in the way of new businesses starting, new businesses that don’t have the huge legal departments than many established businesses have,” she said.
She said she wanted to further reduce “the regulators and quangos across government” saying there were “305 different government bodies which cost us £2.5bn to fund every year.”
Truss also said that the low rates of house building “have been holding back our economy”. She said the government will be launching a planning green paper, a government report suggesting changes to the law, later this year. Truss said the planning system was one area which suffered from “red tape”.
Near the end of her speech she said that as a “free trader” who wants to “open our economy to the rest of the world’ she would like to see Britain do a “Canada-style free trade deal once we've left the European Union”, despite supporting remain in the referendum.
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Such a deal would see Britain strike a comprehensive deal with the EU and be outside the customs union and the single market. It would pose problems for the issue of the Irish border, however, as Northern Ireland would have different regulations to the Republic of Ireland.