These free ports located across the country will allow businesses that trade there to benefit from tax cuts and simplified border procedures.
The British government announced in its budget on Wednesday that construction of eight free ports in England, areas considered for tax purposes outside the country’s customs territory, to stimulate the economy and regions after leaving the European Union. Finance Minister Sage Sanak told the House of Commons that these areas, which should be operational by the end of 2021, “will have separate rules to make the activity easier and less expensive.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a supporter of these free ports and wrote a report a few years ago to increase their profit. Free zones provided in the budget unveiled on Wednesday will be all over England, with one near London and the other near Liverpool, and most often on the coasts. Companies doing business will benefit from tax cuts and simplified border procedures.
Circumvent rules on state aid
Discussions are continuing to establish free ports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible. In February 2020, Boris Johnson’s government said it wanted to establish ten free ports in the United Kingdom, which was one of its campaign promises. Brexit allows it to reestablish free zones without following EU rules on state aid.
These free zones, which exist worldwide and in Europe, however, are criticized as easing loot of dirty money or supporting tax exemptions for the rich. Labor opposition leader Keir Starr told him on Wednesday that the priority should be to make life easier for companies that do business with the European Union and are affected by the new post-Brexit trade rules.
“Rather than relying on free ports, Chancellor UK manufacturing companies, which face more bureaucracy, and for our financial services, will do better to ensure the government’s Brexit deal.”