Rishi Sunak launches two freeports to ‘turbocharge’ economy, backed by Welsh Labor leaders


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced two new freeports for the principality, along with Labor Welsh leader Mark Drakeford.

The Labor-led Conservative-led British and Welsh governments say the free port could create 20,000 new jobs by the end of 2020.

The winning bid was one from the port of Holyhead in Anglesey, North Wales, and another joint bid by Milford Haven and Port Talbot in South Wales, known as Celtic Freeport.

A third bid by Newport/Cardiff was rejected.

Conservative manifest In the December 2019 general election, it not only promised to deliver Brexit, but also to create 10 new freeports across the country.

Rishi Sunak was Finance Minister when the policy was formally announced in February 2020.

snack At the time, The Sun said: You can configure the rules to suit your needs. If this goes well, businesses within these zones will become booming and attract investment. ”

“Special Economic Zone”

Labor Party leader at the time Jeremy Corbyndescribed Freeport as “a tax-free zone that allows the ultra-wealthy to dodge taxes and workers to be less protected.”

Corbyn was subsequently replaced by Sir Kiel Sturmer, who had expressed little opposition to Freeport.

During a visit to Holyhead on Wednesday, Sunak said: So to create jobs and opportunities for people. ”

he said: Working with the Welsh Government to serve, foster growth, create jobs and expand opportunities for Welsh people. ”

Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said Freeport would “transform the Welsh economy and create a stronger, fairer and greener future”.

Drakeford said the joint intergovernmental work on the Freeport Program should serve as a blueprint for future intergovernmental work on a range of issues.

Replacing EU funds in Wales

Snack said missing EU funding for Wales since Britain’s exit would be replaced with “more” by the UK government, including £52m in total for free ports.

750 jobs were lost when the Anglesey meat processing plant closed last month. Sunak said:

Freeport is a special corporate zone with various economic regulations to encourage investment and create a global trading hub. They are usually at ports and airports.

The United States has 293 free ports and foreign trade zones, from Anchorage, Alaska, to Tucson, Arizona, hundreds of miles inland.

Some of them date back to 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded them to create jobs during the Great Depression.

The government has created freeports at East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Area, Plymouth & South Devon, Solent, Teesside and Thames.

Five of these have received final government approval: Plymouth, Solent, Teesside, Felixstowe and Liverpool.

Two Green Freeports were created in Scotland. one in the Firth of Forth and another in Inverness/Cromarty Bay.

No freeport has been created in Northern Ireland so far.

Some critics fear that free ports will simply take jobs away, rather than create new ones.

‘Trojan horse’

2020 Rosa Crawforda trade union conference policy maker wrote on his blog:

Freeports was pushed by both Sunak and Liz Truss in last summer’s Conservative leadership election.

But Richard Murphy, professor of accounting practice at the University of Sheffield, said: article At the time, Freeport was accused of being a “threat to democracy”.

He argued that not only would businesses operating within the free port be offered tax exemptions, but health and safety standards and environmental standards would also be lowered, “putting workers at risk.”

Murphy said Freeport was designed to provide a “low-regulatory environment,” but said: The pressure on public services is therefore only exacerbated by freeports designed to contribute as little to the public good as possible. ”

In April 2019, the European Parliament called for Freeports to be abolished within the EU, claiming they enable tax evasion, money laundering and the trafficking of stolen art.

PA Media contributed to this report.