UK Government seeks views from service sector to support seamless trade across UK

  • Consultation launched to increase provide continuity and certainty for service businesses trading within the United Kingdom
  • government is seeking views of regulators and firms on how best to support business as usual
  • UK Internal Market Act passed into law in December last year, enabling seamless UK domestic trade outside the European Single Market

The UK government has today (25 February) moved to ensure continued seamless trade across the UK by gathering information on services sectors which may benefit from exclusion from some rules in the United Kingdom Internal Market Act (UKIMA).

The UKIMA preserves the flow of goods and services across the country now that the UK has left the EU single market.

Under UKIMA, trade and business can continue as usual across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with no additional burdens or barriers for business.

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

The consultation also aims to gather further information on whether any changes should be made to the exclusions carried over by the UKIMA that could help enhance the services market across the UK, and on other ways to help strengthen the United Kingdom’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 UKIMA remains well-targeted.

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. This 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 we have left the EU and the transition period has ended, the consultation also seeks views on where we can improve on the current arrangements.

The UK government is particularly seeking views from service industry regulators with experience of how the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (2009 Regulations) apply to their areas.

In addition, the UK 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 UKIM 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 European Union
  • any other ways that the UK’s internal market for services could be further enhanced

View the consultation in full on GOV.UK.

Additional information

  • The government will use the information provided to develop a list of services excluded from the Mutual Recognition and Non-Discrimination principles for ease of reference in future
  • the consultation will also provide useful insights into relevant developments within the UK services sectors since the previous Regulations were introduced in 2009
  • possible respondents to the consultation may include government departments, local authorities, devolved administrations, independent regulators, self-regulatory professional bodies, as well as the relevant committees of the legislative bodies of the UK
  • find further information on the UKIM Act

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