Clause 81 - Excise Duty: Penalties

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 5 January 2022.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately The Exchequer Secretary 6:30, 5 January 2022

I am glad that the Opposition will not oppose the clause, although I think I heard that, overall, they oppose freeports. Clearly, they take a very different view from us, because we see freeports as an important part of our ambitions to level up and increase opportunities in some of the more deprived areas of the country.

From memory, I believe that three freeports are already open. I recently visited the Teesside freeport to see the great excitement there about the opportunities that it will provide to the community in that area.

The hon. Member asked what checks there will be and what we will do to ensure that there is good compliance in freeports. One thing I will say is that the change made under this clause will mean that HMRC has the tools to tackle non-compliance in relation to excise goods suspended inside the customs-free zone procedure in freeports. Overall we are confident that we will see not only compliance, where appropriate, but also economic growth and all the benefits associated with that, both in and around freeports.

I am happy to write to the hon. Member with any further details about the regime of checks that will be carried out for freeports. I therefore move that the clause stand part of the Bill—