March 3, 2021 3.40 pm This story is over 9 months old

The Humber, and East Midlands Airport, two of eight UK freeports

A big boost for the region

The Humber sea port and East Midlands Airport have been named as two of eight locations successful in their bids for Freeport status.

Goods that arrive into a Freeport from abroad aren’t subject to the tax charges, called tariffs, that are normally paid to the government. These taxes are only paid if the goods leave the Freeport and are moved elsewhere in the UK.

The other Freeports will be based in Felixstowe & Harwich, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside. The announcement was made in Rishi Sunak’s 2021 Budget on Wednesday, March 3.

A consortium from across the Humber submitted a bid for Freeport Status in February this year. It was led by port operator ABP, with support from local authorities in Hull, East Riding, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire, as well as the Greater Lincolnshire and Humber LEPs.

The region is already home to the UK’s busiest port complex, including four major ports of Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby. Combined they handle around 17% of the nation’s trade.

The new Humber Freeport will contain custom zone sites all across the region including the four main ports.

Three new tax sites on both banks of the Humber will incentivise growth in new manufacturing, research and development and green energy jobs. One of the three sites is located on the Able Marine Development Park in Killingholme, with the other two in Hull and Goole.

Simon Bird, ABP Humber Director and Chair of the Humber Freeport Steerco, said: “Over the coming months we will be focusing on delivery to create the new Freeport, which we expect to bring in major investment to our part of the world and will lead to over 7,000 new jobs for the Humber.

“The benefits of this will be felt far beyond just the Humber, but across Yorkshire, the Midlands and the North West as well.”

He added: “We hope the Freeport will be up and running before the year is over and delivering on bringing new jobs to the Humber from 2022.”

Thousands of sustainable jobs will also be created across North Lincolnshire. There will also be money to help develop Scunthorpe town centre and fund Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) in Killingholme.

Freeport status will also provide greater security for the future of steel making in Scunthorpe as British Steel is allocated as a special “customs” site. It will offer the area the opportunity to develop three types of sites within the designated Freeport boundary – customs, tax and seed capital.

The customs sites also include Inter Terminals in Immingham, as well as P&O Ferries, IBL Bulk Liquids, AAK International and two UM Group sites in Hull, and ABP’s ports in Grimsby, Goole, Immingham and Hull.

Pat Doody, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “A Humber Freeport will turbocharge our economy and support levelling up in our area, bringing increased investment of £3.5bn and around 7,000 high-quality new jobs.”

Councillor Rob Waltham, Leader at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “I am delighted that we have been selected as one area in only eight across the country to be awarded freeport status. This will make North Lincolnshire a global gateway for trade and investment.

“We have worked hard with the area’s MPs and businesses to deliver this for the area and it is a fantastic show of confidence in North Lincolnshire and its people.

“This will help us recover and renew by delivering sustainable well-paid jobs and attract more wealth-creators to the region.”

Councillor Philip Jackson, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, added: “As part of the bid consortium, we believed we had pulled together a compelling and transformational bid for supporting sites across the Humber to provide long-term opportunities for jobs and growth and we’re naturally delighted that Government agreed with us.

“This will help the area make the most of the global opportunities now opening up to Britain and I’m confident it will see even further investment, jobs and opportunities for the Humber to flourish.

“In North East Lincolnshire, it means that we’ll be able to maintain the innovation and momentum we’ve built up in recent years across some of our most important economic sites.

“It really is exciting news and we’re looking forward to working with partners to make the most of the benefits Freeport status will bring to the area.”

Maria Machancoses, director of Midlands Connect, added: “It’s fantastic news that East Midlands Airport has been confirmed as the location of one of eight UK Freeports, as well as the Humber Freeport, which contains Immingham Port in Lincolnshire.

“We will now work in earnest with local authorities to make sure these site are well-connected, and that businesses have the road and rail infrastructure needed to trade with local, national and international partners.”

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