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Roadmap published to accelerate growth in port towns and cities

  • Over 50 measures including £150 million fund will boost successful Freeports policy, along with special tax incentives extended to 2031
  • New strategic roadmap will help key port areas build on Freeports’ £2.9 billion investment and creation of 6,000 jobs
  • Plans will be implemented to set timeframes, ensuring timely action to benefit local people in port communities

The government has set out a new roadmap to further accelerate much-needed trade and investment in key port areas across the country.

The successful Freeports policy introduced in 2021 is already empowering strategically located port communities to realise their economic potential – and in just two years, has attracted almost £3 billion of investment which will create over 6,000 jobs.

The new Freeports Delivery Roadmap will help Freeports to go even further by laying out an action plan of over 50 cross-government measures. These include:

  • A £150 million Investment Opportunities Fund to help Freeports and Investment Zones respond quickly to land large investment opportunities as they arise.

  • Extending the window to claim special tax reliefs in English Freeport sites from five years to ten – securing a whole decade of growth for port communities.

Minister for Levelling Up Jacob Young said:

We are already seeing the vast and undeniable opportunities that Freeports are bringing, having brought in almost £3 billion of investment, which will create thousands of long-term jobs in sectors of the future.

Our action plan in the Freeports Delivery Roadmap will maximise the potential of these communities to become centres of innovation and investment, with clear delivery timeframes to ensure rapid progress.

Our goal is to improve lives for local people in areas historically overlooked and Freeports are helping us achieve that.

The government is committed to taking the long-term decisions required to strengthen the economy, and Freeports are at the heart the government’s levelling up agenda, creating opportunities for everyone – from UK citizens and businesses to foreign investors – and providing vital local regeneration. There are currently twelve Freeports in Great Britain: eight in England, two in Wales and two in Scotland.

Other measures in the roadmap include:

  • Improving infrastructure: The UK Infrastructure Bank will work with Freeports to finance upgrades to infrastructure, including through flexible loans to local authorities and debt, equity or guarantees to private sector investors.
  • Skills and workforce access: Ensuring joint working between Freeports, Institutes of Technology and local colleges, and linking local jobseekers to opportunities at Freeports through Jobcentre Plus.
  • Investment promotion: Bringing government departments together to look at targeted interventions where Freeports face barriers to investment.
  • Programme delivery: Creating an independent advisory panel for Freeports, to increase the business voice within the programme.

The appeal of Freeports is becoming increasingly evident, having already unlocked significant investments including:

  • £175 million from Siemens Gamesa to expand its offshore wind blade manufacturing facility in Humber.
  • £150 million from ScottishPower to develop a project with Hutchison Ports exploring the development and construction of a multi-hundred MW green hydrogen production facility at Port of Felixstowe.
  • £130 million from Associated British Ports at the Port of Southampton, for a shore power project and terminal operating system in support of the automotive sector.

Some of the measures outlined in the Freeports Delivery Roadmap also apply to Investment Zones, which are boosting productivity and growth in areas in need of levelling up.

Together, Freeports and Investment Zones are forming a network of economic hotbeds across the country designed to stimulate private investment into high-potential places, providing more high-priority jobs for local people and levelling up the economy. 

The UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to agree how the 10-year window to claim reliefs can be extended across Freeports in Scotland and Wales.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Freeport locations:

  • England – East Midlands Freeport, Humber Freeport, Freeport East (Felixstowe & Harwich), Liverpool City Region Freeport, Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, Solent Freeport, Teesside Freeport, Thames Freeport
  • Scotland – Firth of Forth (Edinburgh) and Inverness and Cromarty Firth (Highlands), (also known as Scottish Green Freeports)
  • Wales – Celtic (Port Talbot and Milford Haven) and Anglesey

  • Please visit here to see the Freeports Delivery Roadmap published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
  • The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove also published a written statement – available here.

  • To read more about Freeports, please visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/freeports

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