Taxes and red tape will be slashed in towns and cities across the country next year, under government plans for a post-Brexit and post-coronavirus economic revolution.
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, is preparing to introduce sweeping tax cuts and an overhaul of planning laws in up to 10 new "freeports" within a year of the UK becoming fully independent from the European Union in December, The Telegraph can reveal.
The disclosure comes as Michael Gove declares the reasons for Brexit are "stronger than ever", in a rebuke to Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, who last week said he saw no "added value" from leaving the bloc.
Writing in The Telegraph, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, also launches "The UK's new start: let's get going", a public information campaign to help individuals and businesses to prepare for life outside of the EU's structures and "seize the opportunities" of Brexit.
Ministers are dramatically stepping up plans for the end of the transition period, with less than six months until the UK leaves the EU's customs union and the single market.
In other developments:
Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Gove announces £705 million investment for new border control infrastructure, jobs and technology. The announcement comes 24 hours after it emerged that the Government had purchased 27 acres of land to build a vast customs clearance centre for lorries, 20 miles from Dover.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is preparing to unveil further details of the Government's planned points-based immigration system, including details of a new health and care visa for key health workers, and a "graduate route" from next summer, to allow international students to stay in the UK for up to three years to secure jobs.
Senior Brexiteers warned Boris Johnson that key parts of his Withdrawal Agreement with the EU amounts to a "poison pill" that should be replaced as part of post-Brexit trade talks. UK negotiators are pushing to conclude talks with the EU by the end of the summer, in order to give businesses "total clarity" about the rules and procedures they will face from January 1.
Liz Truss, the Trade Secretary, is understood to have been rebuked by Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson's chief adviser, on Thursday after the leak of a letter in which she claimed that the Government's border plans could result in smuggling and the breach of international rules.
According to plans seen by The Telegraph, Mr Sunak will open the bidding for towns, cities and regions to become "freeports", in his autumn budget later this year, as he attempts to tackle the effects of a recession predicted to be the worst faced by the country in 300 years.
He is planning to confirm the successful bids by the spring and introduce sweeping tax and regulatory changes in those areas at next year's budget, including research and development tax credits, generous capital allowances, cuts to stamp duty and business rates, and local relaxations of planning laws.
The disclosure comes after the Chancellor unveiled an immediate national stamp duty holiday for six months on properties worth up to £500,000, as part of a package of measures to help the economy recover from the impact of Covid-19.
Under the plans, up to 10 UK towns, cities and regions, will be designated as freeports, meaning that they will ultimately be legally outside of the country's customs territory, with goods imported, manufactured or re-exported without incurring national tariffs or import VAT until they enter the rest of the economy.
The Government believes the policy can transform ports into "international hubs" for manufacturing and innovation, with the economic and regulatory incentives designed to encourage firms to establish new factories and processing sites in the areas.
In a second wave of measures, customs duties, import VAT, and national insurance contributions would be cut from April 2022, making the freeports "fully operational" within 18 months of the UK's departure from the customs union and single market.
The measures to be introduced in next year's autumn budget are understood to have been initially scheduled for the spring, but have been delayed slightly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Sunak first mapped out proposals for UK freeports in a paper he wrote as a backbencher four years ago, and Mr Johnson backed the idea during the Conservative leadership contest.
The pair view the free trade zones as a prize of the "economic freedom" provided by Brexit, believing that the measure will boost manufacturing, create jobs in the areas in which they are most needed, and promote trade.
Earlier this year, before being promoted to Chancellor, Mr Sunak identified freeports as a key part of the Government's promise to "unleash the potential" of the country, by attracting new businesses, investment and jobs to historic ports such as Southampton.
The city was among a series of ports that his 2016 report identified as disproportionately located in areas of higher unemployment and deprivation.
The list also included Grimsby and Immingham in Lincolnshire, Tees and Hartlepool, Hull, and Harwich, in Essex.
A government paper produced this year stated that an "ambitious UK freeport model that could work for rail, sea and airports".
Mr Sunak has said that while freeports are a "no-brainer" for the UK, of 3,500 in the rest of the world, none operate in the UK as a result of the restrictions of the EU's single market and customs union.
He is developing the plans with Ms Truss, and Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary.
Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Gove states that "taking back control of our economy means we can put in place the right measures for our Covid recovery."
He says: "Leaving the European Union is, I’ve often argued, a bit like moving house. Instead of being lodgers under someone else’s roof we are choosing a new place in the world where we’re in control. Four years after we made the decision to leave the EU, the reasons for moving are stronger than ever."
Mr Gove's intervention comes after Mr Barnier said that he respected the UK's decision to leave the EU despite the fact that "nobody has been able to demonstrate to me the added value of leaving the most integrated economic and free trade area in the world".
Mr Gove announces that the Government is spending £705 million to ensure that Britain's "new borders will be ready when the UK takes back control on January 1, 2021", with or without a post-Brexit trade agreement.
The work will lay the foundations for "the world’s most effective border by 2025", he states.
The spending includes £470 million for new customs posts, £10 million for around 500 more Border Force staff and more than £100 million on HM Revenue & Customs systems and technology to police customs rules.
A new "border operating model" will set out how Britain's border with the EU will work.
Meanwhile, Ms Patel stated that the Government's "skills-led" immigration system would ensure that Britain is "ready to welcome the best and brightest global talent" from January 11.
The next formal round of talks with the EU begins on Monday, July 20.
Last week it emerged that Mr Barnier had confirmed he was willing to soften his position on fishing rights, a key issue.