Free Zones

Treasury written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Shadow Minister (International Trade) (Brexit and EU Negotiations), Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) (Brexit and EU Negotiations)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of freeports on the risk of money laundering and tax evasion in the UK.

Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Shadow Minister (International Trade) (Brexit and EU Negotiations), Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) (Brexit and EU Negotiations)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what lessons his Department has learnt from the previous incarnation of freeports, from 1984 to 2012, that he plans to implement when establishing new freeports.

Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Pre-2012 UK Freeports model was were not well used, in large part because they offered limited only basic customs benefits and were in fixed locations inside ports.

The government has consulted on the introduction of a new Freeport model which will include a wider package of policy measures, including customs measures and tariff benefits, tax reliefs and planning freedoms to boost trade, regenerate deprived communities and promote innovation. The consultation closed on 13 July, and the responses are currently being carefully considered.

The government will ensure all the necessary safeguards are in place to minimise any risk of money laundering and tax evasion and will continue to meet international standards. The government’s consultation response will set out more detail on this, as well as on how any risk of harmful job displacement will be managed.

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