South Yorkshire politicians and business leaders have submitted a bid for a large part of the region to become a freeport – a zone which brings tax and customs benefits.
Backers and likely benefactors if successful include Sheffield Forgemaster, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Liberty Steel in Stocksbridge and Rotherham, McLaren Automotive and various other advanced manufacturing enterprises across the region.
New modelling suggests a freeport in the South Yorkshire could:
Increase wages by at least east 19 per cent due to a focus on advanced manufacturing
Add £169m to the South Yorkshire economy every year
Boost imports by £306m and exports by £410m
Unlock or accelerate over £500m of investment
Transform the Sheffield City Region into a net exporter of goods by 2029
Create 28,700 new jobs
The freeport itself centres around Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the iPort logistics hub as well as major manufacturers with more than 360 hectares of land primed for development at GatewayEast, Junction 36 and iPort.
Business bosses say the bid will make South Yorkshire the ‘largest advanced manufacturing hub in Europe, putting the area at the heart of world-class innovation’.
Freeports are ports – either inland or coastal – where normal tax and customs rules do not apply.
Freeports are similar to free zones or ‘enterprise zones’, specifically targeted at those businesses who import, process and re-export goods.