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Freeports resisted by Welsh Government might be dead in the water after Treasury ‘kills’ the idea

22 Nov 2021 2 minutes Read
MV Stena Superfast X leaving Holyhead. Picture by Reading Tom (CC BY 2.0)

After a long fight with the Welsh and Scottish Governments over imposing freeports on the autonomous nations, they may have been “killed” after all, UK Government sources have said.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart had previously said that Wales would have to accept a freeport “come what may” and Economy Minister Vaughan Gething had warned them not to “impose” a tax-free port on Wales.

But senior ministers have now briefed to the London newspapers that Treasury officials had now “killed” the ports. It was one of many UK Government schemes across Whitehall suppressed by Civil Servants, they said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak had previously lauded the free ports as a way of “levelling up” the economy outside of London.

But according to the Telegraph, Treasury privately feared that freeports would simply result in less tax revenue and “displace” existing investment from elsewhere.

“The Treasury has killed freeports,” a source told the newspaper.

The Treasury’s concerns mirror that of the Welsh Government, with First Minister Mark Drakeford previously stating that “anybody sensible” would be “worried about displacement in freeports”.

But he added in March that those issues were “resolvable” but that the “ball at the moment is in the court of the UK government”.


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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago

This is the very reason that Freeports were allowed to fade away before being killed off by George Osborne and David Cameron as recently as 2012.
As shown today at the CBI we really are at the mercy of drunks and idiots.

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

I thought I’d seen It all in Westminster politics and what passes for a minister these days, but the blithering incompetence of Johnson at the CBI presentation has set a new standard of unbelievable uselessness even for this idiotcracy.

Last edited 5 months ago by Quornby
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

Good, this is another example of Wales and Scotland saying – No !

John
John
5 months ago

‘Farm-school boy’ gets it wrong again!

Paul Reynolds
5 months ago
Reply to  John

Given that Wales has little agriculture I can forgive your ignorance there.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago

All of that posturing, BS and ‘freeports come what may’ and for what? Nothing. So long as we are part of the UK Simon Hart’s job should be to represents Wales’s interests in Westminster not vice-versa. All he has succeeded in doing is souring relations between the Welsh government and the Welsh office.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

A freeport in would not have benefitted Wales., especially seeing ports that did like Fishguard & Holyhead are now in decline thanks to Tory Brexit. Boris Johnson’s idiocracy assumed that he & they could force through Conservative policies on Wales & Scotland even though Ports are devolved to both Cardiff & Edinburgh parliaments, and knew all too well that they would be humiliated when they lost any Supreme Court ruling as done three times when they doubted Wales competency to legislate a few years back. So I’m glad they’ve ran away with their Tory tails between their legs from this… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Y Cymro
Paul Reynolds
5 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Tory Brexit?

I forgot Wales voted remain.

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