RISHI Sunak is hoping to fast-track plans to create ten tax-haven “freeports” to help Britain’s economy cope with a no deal Brexit, The Sun has learnt.
The 10 designated cities, towns and ports will be free of import duties and red tape – designed to attract major international investment to revive former industrial heartlands that have been neglected for years.
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The destinations of the freeports were due to be announced in the spring.
But The Sun understands the Chancellor wants to speed-up the bidding process in time for him to announce which cities, towns and ports will be awarded freeport status in his November Budget.
That will allow them to be set up months earlier than expected – in early 2021 – and help them “turbocharge” Britain’s economy following the end of the transition period on December 31.
The freeports were only due to become fully operational from April 2022 – 18 months after the UK formally cuts ties with the EU.
Mr Sunak hopes that announcing the freeport destinations this autumn will bring this date forward to next year.
The Chancellor wants the freeports to become “international hubs” for manufacturing and innovation – attracting major global corporations to set up new factories and processing sites.
The cities, towns, ports and regions designated as free ports will be legally outside the UK’s customs territory.
That means that goods imported and manufactured within the designated area will not incur import tax or VAT until they enter the rest of the economy.
The areas will also benefit from major research and development tax credits, extra capital allowances, cuts to stamp duty and business rates and a sweeping reduction of planning laws.
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