Brexit fury as Sunak's freeport plan risks infuriating EU: 'They could block UK ...

Rishi Sunak discusses freeports announcement

The Chancellor unveiled a wide range of policies in today's Budget announcement to try to spark economic recovery following the impact of the Covid pandemic. Mr Sunak's announcement included details of the eight freeports in England. The English sites were confirmed as East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside. The Chancellor said he is also in discussion with the other UK governments about locations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Freeports are special economic zones with "different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business", Mr Sunak told MPs today.

They can be found around the world, but the UK's plans would not have been permitted had the country still been in the EU.

Encouraging investment and job creation are among the key objectives of the freeport policy.

Some argue that freeports' favourable customs duties and tax breaks provide a key trading advantage.

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However, economist and head of Tax Research UK, Richard Murphy, told that freeports will only make EU-UK trade harder post-Brexit, as Brussels will not be a fan of the proposal.

Brexit news:Brexit news: Sunak's freeports plan could lead to a clash with the EU (Image: getty)

Brexit news: Sunak will unveil eight freeports in EnglandBrexit news: Sunak will unveil eight freeports in England (Image: getty)

He said: "The difficulty with freeports is that you create lots of new internal borders within the UK, and that's a lot of extra work.

"They are usually very poorly regulated because the whole purpose is to have 'light touch regulation' which normally results in no regulation.

"They really are not well run. And because the people we trade with will know that, the EU for example, I bet this will increase problems with trade between the UK and the EU."

Mr Murphy even warned that the EU could block UK exports for fear of importing goods that have not undergone thorough checks.

He continued: "The EU will say

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