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 Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury) 6:30, 5 January 2022

I thank the Minister for the points she has made. I just want to say for the record that we are not against freeports; what we are concerned about is the increased risk of tax evasion and smuggling, and the potential undermining of workers’ rights. I am sure that we agree that we all want freeports to work; we just need to make sure that some issues are addressed.

In terms of the freeports that are open, I thank the Minister for saying that she will write to me, which is really helpful. She mentioned that the Bill allows checks and other tools to deal with non-compliance at freeports, and it would be really helpful if she could list in her response exactly what action will be taken, because the Bill does not set that out in detail.

It would also be helpful if the Minister could elaborate in her written response, if she is not able to right now, on what steps HMRC and Border Force are taking to monitor these freeports, particularly those that are in action right now, and to ensure that they are compliant.