Drug trafficking, money laundering and lost tax revenue: The Tory plans for a freeport in Scotland

The SNP conference has been decidedly cool on the idea of a freeport in Scotland and the Trade Secretary, Ivan McKee, has described it as a distraction from ‘other bad stuff going on in the trade arena.’

The two Fife politicians referred to above don’t seem to surface in the actual report.

The Scottish Conservatives leader has been pushing for the establishment of a free port in the North-East of Scotland, for some time now, despite the clear evidence in a House of Commons Briefing Paper that they simply transfer business away from other areas and, according to the Royal United Services Institute, ‘encourage drug trafficking, trade in counterfeits, money laundering and a vast array of other crimes.’Will the minister advise his colleague, Douglas Ross, to take note of these concerns and drop his campaign to further damage communities already suffering from widespread drug-related crime?

Backup evidence:

  1. Full report: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8823/
  2. Additional evidence from Institute for Government on economic factors: There is also a risk that freeports and zones don’t create new economic activity but rather divert existing business into the area with the allure of tax breaks – at a cost to the taxpayer in the form of lost revenue. https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/trade-freeports-free-zones
  3. Additional evidence from Royal United Services Institute: The misuse of freeports in other countries for drug trafficking, trade in counterfeits, money laundering and a vast array of other crimes has drawn the attention of key international stakeholders, including the Financial Action Task Force, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Customs Organization. The European Parliament has gone so far as to call for the abolition of freeports in the EU. https://rusi.org/publication/briefing-papers/free-ports-not-safe-havens-preventing-crime-uks-future-freeports

4 thoughts on “Drug trafficking, money laundering and lost tax revenue: The Tory plans for a freeport in Scotland

  1. I think we can all see why they want a ‘free port’ in Scotland. Freeloading EngGov attempting to use and abuse Scotland once again, hopefully Scotland’s planning rules can ensure this does not go ahead, or can the EngGov just build whatever they like anywhere in Scotland!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aye, we don’t want any freeports – they’ll undercut local businesses, undercut wages, invite money laundering, reduce income etc etc. Ivan McKee is bang on – the uk gov’t is using the Freeport thing to cover up for not getting any real trade deals in place. I’m not sure of our chances of being able to stop it happening though.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Surely free ports are a beggar thy neighbour kind of idea ., liable to draw investment away from places that can ill afford to lose economic activity .There’s more than a touch of the zero sum game about becoming a haven for tax evasion , money laundering and allied dubious trades .


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