UK’s new low-tax low-regulation free ports – 21 applications to include Doncaster and Tyne
THE UK is preparing for life once ties are fully cut with the European Union and 10 new ‘low-tax low regulation’ free ports are likely to be given the green light.
And 21 areas across the UK are expected to apply to have “free ports” which will allow companies to enjoy a reduced tax burden and less red tape. The applications are likely to take place in Autumn and areas thought to be preparing a bid include Doncaster and Tyne. Also on the list of 21 sites thought to be preparing an application, includes Tees Port, Holyhead, Londonderry, Belfast, Port of Liverpool and Heathrow.
Others include Humber, London Gateway with Tilbury, Southampton, Plymouth, Bristol Port, Prestwick Aiport, Grangemouth, Aberdeen/Peterhead, Milford Haven, as well as Bournemouth Airport and Manchester Airport.
FT’s Chief Political Correspondent, Jim Pickard, also reports Newport, Cardiff, Swansea & Port Talbot, will likely also join as an area likely to apply.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is thought to want the UK’s 10 free ports to be up and running within a year of Britain fully cutting ties with the bloc on December 31.
A Treasury insider said: “We remain committed to free ports.
Rishi Sunak is thought to want the Freeports up and running by next year
Rishi Sunak speaking in the Commons
“The next stage is opening the bidding process later this year.”
Mr Sunak is said to be planning to open bidding for towns, cities and regions to become free ports in his autumn Budget.
It comes after the Chancellor detailed his £30billion rescue plan last week amid the coronavirus crisis.
Under the plans, free ports are expected to be able to enjoy research and development tax credits as well as cuts to stamp duty and business rates, plus relaxations of local planning laws.
They will be legally outside the country’s customs territory so that goods can be imported, manufactured or exported without incurring national tariffs or import VAT until they enter the rest of the UK economy.
The UK will fully cut ties with the bloc at the end of the transition period
Mr Sunak is expected to invite bids and identify the locations which will benefit from changes in next year’s Budget.
It comes as more than £700million is to be spent on building new infrastructure, hiring staff and developing technology to ensure Brexit Britain’s border systems are fully operational by the end of the year.
The UK is currently in trade negotiations with the European Union – but will cease to follow the bloc’s rules after December 31.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said the investment would ensure traders and the border industry are able to “manage the changes and seize the opportunities” when the Brexit transition period ends in December.
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