New high-quality jobs and much-needed investment for the East Midlands region will be unlocked today, as the East Midlands Freeport receives final government sign off.
The Freeport will now receive up to £25 million seed funding from government and potentially hundreds of millions in locally retained business rates to drive growth in the UK’s advanced manufacturing, biomanufacturing, logistics, and low carbon industries.
It will help encourage investment into sectors including automotive, space, and satellites sectors, generating thousands of jobs and boosting the local economy.
This is the seventh Freeport in England to become fully operational, with just one more expected to get final government sign off in due course. Four new Freeports have recently been named in Scotland and Wales.
The East Midlands Freeport is uniquely positioned as the only inland Freeport in England, with connections to major regional transport hubs, such as the East Midlands Airport.
Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison said: "The East Midlands has a thriving manufacturing sector and we want to capitalise on those strengths while also developing new green growth industries.
"The East Midlands Freeport, the only inland Freeport, is up and running and will bring high quality jobs, investment and trading opportunities for businesses in the region.
"This will help us deliver on our mission to grow the economy and level up right across the UK."
Taking full advantage of the freedoms of leaving the EU, businesses in Freeports are offered generous tax incentives and a simplified customs procedure, unlocking much-needed investment and high-quality jobs.
Steve Griffiths, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, said: "As the ‘port’ within the Freeport, we welcome today’s news. The Freeport will provide a focal point around which the public and private sectors can collaborate to shape the future economic success of this region. We look forward to working as part of the East Midlands Freeport to make the most of this opportunity and to build on our role as a key gateway for facilitating global trade."
East Midlands Freeport Chair, Nora Senior CBE, said: "We welcome the Minister’s announcement. As the only inland freeport in the UK, East Midlands Freeport is a hugely exciting and ambitious project designed to bring lasting benefits to the region in terms of jobs and economic growth. Its unique location at the heart of the UK will present opportunities to create trade hubs to drive green innovation as well as support investment in research and development. It will also drive regeneration in the region through reinvestment of retained business rates in our communities throughout Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
"Space Park Leicester is a trailblazing collaboration which is leading pioneering research and I’m delighted it’s on board. Teaming up with the space sector will only attract more businesses to make the freeport their home."
East Midlands Freeport estimates that it will generate over 28,000 new jobs and is already home to world-leading multinational companies, like Toyota Manufacturing UK, and East Midlands Airport - the UK’s busiest ‘pure’ cargo airport.
The Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station site will focus on low-carbon energy and advanced manufacturing, and be redeveloped to become a zero-carbon technology and energy hub for the East Midlands, helping to meet the region’s decarbonisation goals.
East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC), home to the East Midlands Airport, will advance the nation-leading advanced logistics market in the East Midlands.
East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP), located adjacent to the nationally significant Toyota manufacturing plant, has the potential to become the next generation of rail connected business parks. The proposed investment will also enable a significant modal shift, from road to rail freight, reducing carbon emissions for businesses within the region and increasing connectivity.
The government’s Freeport programme is moving at pace, with seven sites now fully operational in England, already creating thousands of jobs. The Government confirmed Celtic Freeport in Milford Haven and Port Talbot, and Anglesey Freeport on Ynys Mon chosen as Wales’ first Freeports recently. In January, the Government confirmed two new Green Freeports in Scotland to be established in Inverness and Cromarty Firth and Firth of Forth.
Freeports are central to unleashing economic growth across the entire UK, contributing to the levelling up mission. They will drive the UK’s shift to a dynamic, low-carbon economy, helping businesses to collaborate, innovate, and develop the technologies and supply chains that will underpin our journey to Net Zero.