Brexit: Moving away from EU rules is 'national necessity' and Britain needs to reduce taxes, says Lord Frost | Politics news | MCU Times

Brexit: Moving away from EU rules is ‘national necessity’ and Britain needs to reduce taxes, says Lord Frost | Politics news

Moving away from EU rules is a “national necessity” and Britain must strive for lower taxes to succeed, Brexit minister Lord Frost has said.

The conservative peer warned Britain “can not continue as before” and called on the country to “step up and compete globally” after leaving the EU.

Speaking at a Center for Policy Studies conference on global trade, Lord Frost looked beyond his immediate post-Brexit task of easing tensions over border arrangements for Northern Ireland.

He spoke of the importance of Britain’s “departure” from Brussels, warned against copying the “European social model” and also sharply praised Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s vision of lower taxes.

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What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?

Lord Frost admitted that his ongoing negotiations with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol – which the British Government has threatened to suspend, in part with the use of Article 16 – was his “top priority”.

“When we discuss trade in this country, we must not forget that our most pressing and urgent problem – a matter of the highest national interest – is to ensure that we can trade freely in our own country,” he told the conference.

“I do not think it is too much to ask, and that is where we must reach one way or another.”

But the Brexit minister also said the government “started this project” by moving away from EU rules.

“We can not continue as we were before,” said Lord Frost. “If the only thing we do after Brexit is to import the European social model, we will not succeed.

“We have not successfully rolled back the EU’s borders with Brexit, only to import the European model after all this time.

“So we need to reform quickly, and those reforms will involve doing things differently from the EU.

“If we stick to EU models, but behind our own customs wall and with a smaller market, we will of course not succeed.

“That’s why I talk about divergence so often. Not for its sake, but because it’s a national necessity.”

He added that the government is “liberalizing the growth areas of the future to open them up to innovation”, including on data reform, gene editing, transport, medical licensing and artificial intelligence.

“To some extent unnoticed, we are making changes to nuts and bolts in some of the key frameworks that support the economy, to make them less bureaucratic, more dynamic than the EU regimes we left behind,” Lord Frost said.

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Following the chancellor’s autumn budget last month, Britain’s tax burden was estimated to be rising to its highest level since the 1950s, although Mr Sunak said his ultimate goal was “to reduce taxes”.

Lord Frost threw his weight behind the Chancellor’s vision and told the conference: “The world is not standing still and no one owes us a livelihood and it is now fully in our own hands.

“We know what the formula for success as a country is. It is low taxes. I agree with the Chancellor, as he said in his budget speech, our goal should be to lower taxes.

“It’s about light touch, proportional regulation whatever the political goals you are trying to pursue. And of course free trade.”

The Brexit minister also fired a warning shot at the continued imposition of “state direction” following the COVID pandemic.

“Inevitably, we have had a lot of government leadership and control during the pandemic,” he added.

“It can and must not last forever. And I’m glad it is not.

“I’m very happy that free Britain, or at least cheerful England, is probably now the freest country in the world in terms of COVID restrictions.

“No mask rules, no vaccine passports and for a long time it must remain that way.”

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