We need to ignore all the distractions and talk about building back better

Daily, this government is trotting out statements and burbling statistics that simply go unchallenged. Too often, it’s not taken to task on the detail, not by an opposition that is the least effective I can recall; and not by much of the media who just share in the gushing.

Take free ports. I know, not the sexiest of subjects, but that’s the point. Compared with the latest Meghan and Harry drama or surging variants or a cricketer’s offensive old tweets for which he’s apologised or rows about paintings of the Queen or statues in university buildings, there’s little interest in one of the linchpins of the government’s plan for economic recovery. What’s it called? “Build Back Better”. Yes, but how exactly? “Move on now, don’t pour water on it, there’s a chap.”

Well free ports, that’s one way. They’re the special economic zones at seaports or airports. Goods are imported without attracting normal taxes and tariffs. Form-filling and customs procedures are kept to a minimum, and the items can be stored, remanufactured and re-exported, again all levy-free. It’s only when they move into the domestic country that red tape and duties apply.


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