'Is that the best you can do?': LBC challenges Jacob Rees-Mogg on 'post-Brexit freedoms'

24 June 2022, 09:40 | Updated: 24 June 2022, 09:49

By Fiona Jones

In a week which marks the sixth anniversary of the referendum and the launch of a 'Brexit dashboard', LBC's Rachael Venables questions Jacob Rees-Mogg over the UK's post-Brexit benefits.

The Minister for Brexit Opportunities Jacob Rees-Mogg this week launched the online 'dashboard' which publicises the 2,400 EU laws still in place and gives Britons the opportunity to voice which pieces of legislation should be scrapped.

Following the website's announcement on Wednesday, LBC's Rachael Venables put it to Jacob Rees-Mogg: "In five years time, what do you imagine the biggest Brexit benefit will be?"

"It's an accumulation of lots of small benefits," said Mr Rees-Mogg, "that is to say there are 2,400 regulations that we're looking at which add cost to British industry and the British consumer.

"It's one by one, it's little by little, not a big all-singing all-dancing whizzbang announcement. It is focusing on the detail which saves people money."

Rachael questioned how much the British taxpayer is forecast to save by the repealing of EU regulations.

The Brexit Opportunities minister replied: "The target that I was set was to save £1 billion at least and actually we've already saved that from 1 July by not following EU regulations on imports from the EU now we're no longer a member. So by simply accepting that EU goods are made to quite high standards, we've already saved ourselves £1 billion.

"I'm glad to say we're within days of meeting the first target but we want to go further."

Saving money on reforming the way things are regulated is crucial during the UK's cost of living crisis, Mr Rees-Mogg continued.

Rachael countered his point on the crisis: "People who are in full time work have to go to food banks, have to struggle to count the pennies every month as there are soaring energy bills, do you think people are really going to care about whether or not a vacuum cleaner is a certain amount of wattage?"

The Brexit Opportunities minister referenced some repeals already in place for the 1 July deadline: "There was going to be an extra cost for fish fingers because of the way they're imported. That's a 2% increase that has been avoided. There was going to be up to 70% increase of the cost of some cheeses coming in; that we've avoided by using our Brexit freedoms."

"Is that the best you can do? Cheese and fish fingers?" asked Rachael.

"I'm just giving you examples of savings," said Mr Rees-Mogg, "the point is that this is the aggregation of lots and lots of small savings. When you talk of vacuum cleaners, you want to - when you have to buy a new vacuum cleaner - to buy one that is the most cost effective and does the job best.

"Now that may be an American vacuum cleaner, that may be a South Korean vacuum cleaner, which under EU rules we can't import at the moment. So getting value for money means opening yourself up to global markets."