Freeports Consultation: Boosting Trade, Jobs and Investment Across the UK

All MPs

Freeports Consultation: Boosting Trade, Jobs and Investment Across the UK

As the Prime Minister set out in the recent election campaign, Freeports capture the essence of this Government’s ambition. Not afraid of globalisation, but always making sure it works for every part of the UK. Setting our own trading arrangements in a way that works for all parts of our nation. Out of the EU and into the world.

Freeports, which have different customs rules than the rest of the country, are used around the world to drive prosperity. From the UAE to the USA, China to California, global Freeports support trade, jobs and investment. They serve as humming hubs of high-quality manufacturing, titans of trans-shipment and warehouses for wealth-creating goods and services.

We are therefore delighted to today announce an important step towards making this promise reality by publishing a consultation outlining a brand-new, bespoke model for UK Freeports. The document sets out the significant incentives that Freeports could benefit from, and the method by which we expect Freeports to be selected.

We want Freeports to increase trade, create employment and attract investment in order to form innovative business clusters that benefit the local area. That’s why we’re cutting red tape by streamlining customs processes, exploring the use of planning measures to speed up planning processes and accelerate development in and around Freeports, and consulting on a comprehensive set of tax breaks to support businesses.

We want Freeports to act as hotbeds of innovation. That’s why we’re also looking at regulatory flexibilities, funding and challenges that will support innovators generating new ideas.

Most importantly, Freeports will be a cornerstone of the Government’s plan to level up opportunity across the country. Our criteria for allocating Freeports will be geared towards areas of greatest need. This will allow us to drive forward investment and regeneration in some of the most deprived areas in the UK, delivering highly-skilled jobs for people across the country.

We believe that maritime, air and rail ports could all act as credible ports and will therefore welcome application from all modes of ports. We will engage with all modes of ports, as well as wider businesses and local bodies during the consultation process.

We want all the nations of the UK to be able to share in the benefits of Freeports. As such, we will work with the Devolved Administrations to develop proposals that would enable the creation of Freeports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in addition to those in England.

We know that many of you are enthusiastic about the potential for Freeport status to benefit ports, businesses and communities in your constituencies. We strongly encourage you to ask organisations in your constituency—ports, businesses and local government—to engage with and respond to the consultation.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Secretary of State for International

Secretary of State for Housing,
Communities and Local Government

Secretary of State for Transport