Freeports in Liverpool and East Anglia received final government approval yesterday (Tuesday 10th January) meaning the majority of English Freeports are now fully up and running.
Freeport East and Liverpool City Region will join Freeports that are already delivering jobs and investment across areas including Plymouth, Solent, and Teesside, as part of the government’s mission to level up, spread opportunity and drive economic growth.
This is in addition to £52 million invested to bring two Green Freeports to Scotland, as well as at least one Freeport in Wales. The locations of these will be announced in due course, and discussions are ongoing to extend the Freeport programme to Northern Ireland.
Taking full advantage of the freedoms of leaving the EU, businesses in Freeports will be offered generous tax incentives and a simplified customs procedure, unlocking much-needed investment and high-quality jobs.
The two Freeports will now receive up to £25 million seed funding each from the government over the next few years, on top of potentially hundreds of millions of pounds in locally retained business rates to upgrade infrastructure and stimulate regeneration in their local areas.
Combined, the six fully operational Freeports are expected to generate millions of pounds in investment and thousands of highly skilled jobs, boosting local economies and benefitting the whole of the UK.
Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison said: "Freeports are magnets for investments, putting places like the Wirral and Harwich on the global stage and the frontier of innovation.
"With £25 million of seed funding, these Freeports will unlock local expertise and skills to boost key local industries, create jobs and grow our national economy.
"We are maximising the opportunities of leaving the European Union to drive growth, boost innovation and encourage investment in the UK."
Freeport East which is on the world’s major trade routes connecting the UK directly with markets around the world will become a world-leading centre for clean energy production, offering a unique set of opportunities and support for investors, traders, manufacturers and suppliers.
The Freeport estimates that it will deliver thousands of new jobs and generate £5.5 billion over 10 years, for the local economy.
Located at the UK’s biggest western facing port, Liverpool City Region will drive growth in the UK’s advanced manufacturing, biomanufacturing, logistics, and low carbon industries. It estimates that it will deliver thousands of new jobs and £850 million for local economies.
Richard Ballantyne OBE, Chief Executive, British Ports Association, said: "We are pleased to see two more freeports moving forward and this is an exciting time for the sector. These announcements will bring new investment and new jobs to Felixstowe, Harwich and Merseyside.
"The establishment of freeports in these areas builds on strong maritime foundations and we welcome the continued confidence Government has in ports to drive sustainable growth."
Ben Murray, Maritime UK Chief Executive, said: "We’re delighted to see both Liverpool City Region and Freeport East officially launched with bold programmes to develop their local proposition for inward investment, innovation, and exports.
"With Freeport East and Liverpool focused on clean energy, advanced manufacturing, biomanufacturing, and logistics, they will help strengthen our maritime clusters and grow our maritime sector, complimenting the freeports launched at the end of last year.
"The freeport programme is catalysing economic growth and job creation in coastal towns and cities around the UK. As we start the year, we look forward to growing the role of maritime in the levelling-up mission."
Freeports benefit from a package of measures, comprising tax reliefs, customs advantages, business rates retention, planning, regeneration, innovation and trade and investment support.
Liverpool City Region Freeport and Freeport East join three newly operational Freeports announced at the end of last year, including Teesside Freeport which will drive investment and industrial growth in renewables; Plymouth and South Devon Freeport which will harness the region’s marine and defence expertise to deliver thousands of skilled jobs into the region; and Solent Freeport which will grow its ambitious maritime economy, making the Solent a thriving hub for the world’s marine and maritime sector.