Tories pledge to reverse Labour decision to ‘block’ UK Gov freeport initiative
The Tories have announced they will reverse Labour’s decision to “block” the UK Government’s freeport initiative.
The Welsh Government has expressed reservations about the idea, but the Conservatives have argued that it needs to work with the UK Government on investment and infrastructure projects.
It is understood that there are disagreements over the impact the introduction of freeports will have on the Welsh Government’s ‘fair work’ and environmental goals.
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart has previously said he’s ready to overrule the Welsh Government on this issue and impose one without its consent. Hart has said Wales will get a freeport “come what may”.
Critics argue that they do not have much net economic benefit, saying they displace business activity from other areas and don’t boost overall employment.
But the Conservatives say that freeports, which are located around shipping ports, or airports, can regenerate local areas and economies.
Goods that arrive at freeports from abroad aren’t subject to the tax charges, called tariffs, that are normally paid to the government.
These taxes are only paid if the goods leave the freeport and are moved elsewhere in the UK. Otherwise, they are sent overseas without the charges being paid.
The UK Government has announced that eight areas in England are to get freeports, and it has said it wants at least one in Wales.
The Conservatives have claimed that Labour is “playing childish political games” instead of working collaboratively with UK ministers on key projects such as freeports and roads.
Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies said: “We will end Labour’s childish political games in Cardiff Bay, and work with Conservative colleagues to deliver a long-term economic recovery right across Wales.
“Our economic plan will enable us to build a better Wales after the pandemic and the bad decisions and missed opportunities of twenty years of Labour Governments.
“We will deliver more jobs, hope and security for everyone in Wales, starting with the reversal of Labour’s bizarre decision to block a freeport, simply because it was a UK Government initiative.
“Welsh Conservatives will rebuild and rebalance our economy, so that we can level-up across the whole of Wales with new technology, new investment and 65,000 new jobs.
“Only by voting Welsh Conservative this Thursday – on both the Senedd constituency and regional ballots – can we tackle our creaking infrastructure and fragile economy, and create jobs, prosperity and opportunity for people in Wales.”