Bonfire of red tape and taxes planned by Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Bonfire of red tape and taxes planned by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of post-coronavirus and post-Brexit ‘economic revolution’

  • Mr Sunak wants to overhaul planning laws and also offer wide-ranging tax cuts 
  • He is also said to be planning to open bidding for regions to become ‘freeports’ 
  • It is understood the ports will be ‘fully operational’ within 18 months of the UK leaving the customs union and single market at the end of this year

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is planning to slash red tape and taxes as part of a post-Brexit ‘economic revolution’.

Mr Sunak wants to completely overhaul planning laws and offer wide-ranging tax cuts just a year after the UK becomes fully independent from the European Union in December, as reported by the Sunday Telegraph.   

He is also said to be planning to open bidding for towns, cities and regions to become freeports – where UK taxes and tariffs will not apply – in his autumn Budget.

It is understood the ports will be ‘fully operational’ within 18 months of the UK leaving the customs union and single market at the end of this year.

The bonfire of red tape comes as more than £700 million is to be spent on building new infrastructure, hiring staff and developing technology to ensure Britain’s border systems are fully operational when the UK leaves the EU at the end of the year.

Mr Sunak wants to completely overhaul planning laws and offer wide-ranging tax cuts

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said the major investment would ensure traders and the border industry are able to ‘manage the changes and seize the opportunities’ when the transition period ends in December.

The £705 million package includes £235 million for staffing and IT systems, and £470 million for port and inland infrastructure to ensure compliance with new customs procedures and controls.

New border infrastructure will be built inland where there is no space at ports, while ports will get one-off financial support to ensure the right infrastructure is in place.

Of the £235 million for staffing and IT systems:

  • £100 million will be used to develop HMRC systems to reduce the burden on traders £20 million will be spent on new equipment to keep the country safe. 
  •  £15 million will go towards building new data infrastructure to enhance border flow and management. 
  •  £10 million will be used to recruit around 500 more Border Force personnel.

The funding relates only to the implementation of the GB-EU border, and the Government is expected to publish specific guidance and measures for Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.

Mr Gove said: ‘We are taking back control of our borders, and leaving the single market and the customs union at the end of this year bringing both changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said the major investment would ensure traders and the border industry are able to ‘manage the changes and seize the opportunities’ when the transition period ends in December

People walking along a near empty High Street in Winchester in April this year

‘That is why we are announcing this major package of investment today.

‘With or without further agreement with the EU, this £705 million will ensure that the necessary infrastructure, tech and border personnel are in place so that our traders and the border industry are able to manage the changes and seize the opportunities as we lay the foundations for the world’s most effective and secure border.’

The transition period is set to end at the end of December 2020, when the UK will leave the single market and customs union.

The funding package comes ahead of a public information campaign in which guidance will be given to traders and hauliers explaining what they may need to do to prepare for the end of the transition period.

Furthermore, Priti Patel will declare Britain as ‘open for business’ and ready to accept the ‘brightest global talent’ when she unveils more details on the UK’s points-based immigration system.

The Home Secretary is set to release details on Monday about how the new system – which will come into effect on January 1 2021 after freedom of movement ends – will operate.

It is designed to cut the number of low-skilled migrants entering Britain from the beginning of next year, but aims to make it easier for higher-skilled workers to get UK visas.

The Home Secretary is set to release details on Monday about how the new immigration system – which will come into effect on January 1 2021 after freedom of movement ends – will operate.

People who want to live and work in the UK will need to gain 70 points to be eligible to apply for a visa.

Points will be awarded for key requirements like being able to speak English to a certain level, having a job offer from an approved employer, and meeting a minimum salary threshold.

A health and care visa will provide a route for key health professionals to work in the UK, while a graduate route will allow international students to stay in the UK for at least two years after completing their studies.

Ms Patel said: ‘The British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system.

‘Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country’s full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver a new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021.

‘Britain is open for business and ready to welcome the best and brightest global talent.’

Labour said it would scrutinise the visa proposals carefully.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: ‘We will scrutinise the proposals on visas very carefully. The Government has rushed through immigration legislation with very little detail in the middle of a global pandemic.

‘There are real concerns that this will cause major problems for our NHS and our care sector, at a time when we are still waiting for the Government to make good on their promise to scrap the unfair immigration health surcharge for workers who were being charged to access the very services they were keeping going to help others during the toughest of times.’

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