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Cardiff airport could become a freeport, Welsh Secretary says

23 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Simon Hart photo by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Cardiff Airport. Photo by Jonathan Winton and is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The Secretary of State for Wales has said that Cardiff Airport could become a low-tax freeport.

The UK Government are currently in negotiations with the Welsh Government about setting up a freeport, in which companies would be taxed very lightly or not at all to encourage economic activity, in Wales.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart had last year said that Wales would have to accept a freeport “come what may”, but Wales’ Economy Minister Vaughan Gething had warned them not to “impose” the port on Wales.

Today Simon Hart was asked by Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns whether they had considered looking at Cardiff Airport as the location of a freeport.

“In addition, can I ask him to pay particular attention to Cardiff airport, which is closely associated with Barry port, and assure me that it will be central to his thinking?” he asked.

Simon Hart answered that Alun Cairns was “right to point out that freeports are not necessarily confined to coastal areas”.

“Some of the best examples of freeports in the UK are inland freeports,” he said. “They are also not all identical, and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for the whole of the UK.

“We are trying to be as flexible as we can in looking at all the different dynamics, including Cardiff airport, to make sure that when the bids come in we are not too prescriptive and we look at all the issues with the most open mind that we can.”

Cardiff Airport is currently owned by the Welsh Government, a purchase which the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd have been critical of.

‘Transgressions’

Gower Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi meanwhile said the Government should not allow P&O Ferries near the planned freeport.

“The Secretary of State extols the virtues of a freeport in Wales, but will he assure the House that he will not allow DP World, which is responsible for the shameful sacking of 800 P&O workers, anywhere near the construction or operation of any freeport in the United Kingdom?” she said.

Simon Hart answered: “The honourable Lady raises a timely point, and I hope that the comments made by the Transport Secretary, and others, will reassure her that we are deeply disturbed by the way that action was taken.

“As she knows, it has been referred to the Insolvency Service, and if there are demonstrable transgressions in that process, that could lead to criminal prosecutions. I can give the hon. Lady the assurance she needs as far as freeports in Wales are concerned.”

The UK Government and Scottish Government have already come to an agreement about a freeport in Scotland.


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Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Does this fool know what a Freeport is, hes only just discovered what the Barnett formula is, and hes been an MP for a decade or more now.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Freeport’s a mixed bag with varying types behind the catch all title CAN be a benefit IF part of a wider and integrated developmental focus.

SH needs to engage and act as a conduit for WGvt, Bro Morganwg and local stake holders in and around the airport.

Thank heavens W Gvt didn’t listen to ARTD &; co and sell it 🙏.✈️

Let’s see if SH can put together some joint working and even involve prominent local farmer ARTD to add his ‘ considerable weight ‘ behind his 💪🏼

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard
Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Freeports are a scam, I believe the english government are in talks with P&O to run a freeport somewhere in the UK, a suadi owned company running a tax dodging freeport in the uk. Sounds about right for these corrupt english tory politicians

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Freeports do not benefit the worker just the business owner. Workers end up exploited due to the lack of regulation. We must prevent this English nationalistic ideologically driven UK government from imposing them on us. Well done the Welsh Government for resisting up to now.

Kurt C
Kurt C
1 month ago

Tax dodgers haven, that’s what a freeport is. It offers little for a countries economy. Just the rich having more playthings.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Bristol Airport will say no. Hence why they won’t devolve Air Passenger Duty.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

Simon Hart is enmired in Kremlin dirty money and corruption. It is a travesty that he still holds public office.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

If these things are so good, why did a Tory gov get rid of them ? David Cameron’s gov saw no benefit from them at all, and did not renew licenses for them a decade ago. Once bitten twice shy.

Grant
Grant
1 month ago

Anything is better than what it is now …

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Let me get this straight. Engush Government Antagonist Simon Hart wants Cardiff International Airport to become a Freeport. Okay………. There a gaping floor here. Read on further. So when the Welsh Government requested multiple times the devolution of Air Tax Duty, the Tories flatly refused with the excuse given how it would give Wales an unfair advantage over rival Bristol Airport. Baring in mind Wales only has 1 International Airport and England has 17 if my memory serves me well.. My question is. Tory boy Alun Cairns states how Cardiff could become a Freeport which would mean, and I quote… Read more »

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

“My question is. Tory boy Alun Cairns states how Cardiff could become a Freeport which would mean, and I quote him. “Companies would be taxed very lightly or not at all to encourage economic activity, in Wales..”

I agree.

Shame Cairns didn’t want to “encourage” more airlines to Cardiff.
Just think of the “economic activity” that could’ve brought.

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