LONDON (Reuters) – UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak is preparing to introduce sweeping tax cuts and overhaul planning laws in up to 10 new “freeports” within one year after the UK became fully independent from the European Union in December, according to the Sunday Telegraph told me.
Sunak will open the call for cities and regions to become free ports, which would place them outside UK customs territory, in its fall budget later this year, the paper said, citing a copy of the plans he said he saw. Sunak plans to confirm the accepted offers by next spring and introduce major tax and regulatory changes in these areas in next year’s budget, added the Telegraph.
They include research and development tax credits, generous capital cost allowances, reductions in stamp duty on home purchases and business rates, and local loosening of laws on territory Development.
Successful bidders designated as free ports will ultimately be legally outside the customs territory of the United Kingdom, with goods imported, manufactured or re-exported without incurring national tariffs or import VAT until they enter the rest of the economy.
The document says the government believes the policy can transform ports into international centers of manufacturing and innovation, with economic and regulatory incentives designed to encourage companies to establish new factories and processing sites in the regions.
In a second wave of measures, customs duties, import VAT and contributions to national insurance would be reduced from April 2022, the newspaper said, making free ports fully operational within 18 months. Britain’s departure from the EU customs union and the single market.
Stephen Addison’s report; Editing by Leslie Adler
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