§ Mr. Wareing
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied with the progress of free ports in general and Liverpool free port in particular; and what changes in the administration of free ports are planned.
§ Mr. Brooke
The designation of six sites as free zones is an experiment to enable the free ports concept to be properly tested in the United Kingdom. Only three of the designated free ports are operating and as yet there is not sufficient evidence to make a judgment about the experiment. Liverpool, which at some two years has been open the longest, has reported a steady growth in business.
There are no changes planned in the administration of free ports, which must remain the responsibility of the designated authorities. Customs and Excise are conducting a review of procedures and I expect to receive their report before Easter.