21 September 2021
This follows £50,000 being spent by the Council preparing a failed bid for Freeport status for Bournemouth & Poole - despite warnings that Freeports benefit only a wealthy few while breeding corruption, tax evasion and criminal activity.
Green Councillor Chris Rigby said: “Many of the other port towns bidding for Freeport status persuaded private sector partners to cover bid costs, but BCP Council didn’t bother so local taxpayers footed the £50k bill.”
Professor Molly Scott Cato, national Green Party spokesperson for economics, and former MEP, said: “I visited the Riga 'freeport' as part of the European Parliament's tax inquiry. Essentially, it was a way for Russian oligarchs to launder their filthy lucre. If Bournemouth & Poole's bid was seriously about being a port then it's in the wrong place; if it is about tax avoidance then you don't want it in Dorset.
"Bournemouth & Poole was highly unlikely to succeed against ports like Holyhead and Immingham.”
In good news, BCP’s climate team is said to be expanding from two staff to eight. This follows press, social media and Council Chamber pressure from local Greens and other campaigners for faster local climate action.
Councillor Chris Rigby said: “We welcome this news as a great step in responding to the Climate & Ecological Emergency. We’ll be looking to see this pledge confirmed in the next budget.”