Free Zones: Wales

Wales Office written question – answered on 14th July 2021.

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Photo of Virginia Crosbie Virginia Crosbie Conservative, Ynys Môn

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the (a) process of, (b) timeframe for and (c) allocation of funding for the establishment of a freeport in Wales.

Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart The Secretary of State for Wales

Freeports will regenerate communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

I have regular discussions with the Welsh Government on a range of issues, including Freeports. The UK Government remains committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Wales. We wrote to the Welsh Government on 11 July and I would welcome the support of the Welsh Government to ensure Freeports are introduced in Wales as soon as possible.

The Welsh Government is due to receive Barnett in the usual way and it should be for the Welsh Government to decide how much seed funding to provide to a Freeport in Wales. Through the application of the Barnett formula at the 2020 Spending Review, the Welsh Government is receiving around £123 per head in 2021-22 for every £100 head spent by the UK Government on devolved matters in England. However, it is important to recognise that the seed funding is only one part of the offer available to ports and businesses. There are a variety of benefits from Freeports, including on tax, customs, planning and innovation, many of these which will be delivered by the UK Government.

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