Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirms Humber and Teesside to be given Freeport status

The areas around River Humber and Teesside are to be officially designated as freeports, the chancellor has said.

Rishi Sunak said the freeports will have “simpler planning”, “cheaper customs – with favourable tariffs, VAT or duties”, and lower taxes – with “tax breaks to encourage construction, private investment and job creation”.

Freeports, which have not been used in the UK since 2012 are to be classed as “special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business”.

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For the Humber the deal is likely to include the areas around Hull, Goole, Grimsby and Immingham.

Humber area is to be a freeport.

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"Free ports will be a truly UK wide policy, and we will work constructively with the Scottish Welsh and Northern Irish administrations."

He added: "New free ports in eight English regions, unlocking billions of pounds of private sector investment, generating trade and jobs, up and down the country.

"I commend members from across the house for their campaigning, but in particular the Honourable Members for Redcar, Cleethorpes, and Grimsby as well as inspiring local leaders like Ben Houchen, mayor for Tees Valley."

Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP, welcomed the news.

He said: "We are delighted that both the Humber Freeport bid and Able UK’s bid for support to deliver the Able Marine Energy Park have been successful. These are transformative opportunities for the region, drawing on the unique asset of the Humber Estuary and our special role in enabling clean growth.

“They have also been signature projects for the Humber LEP – in the case of Able we have been working closely with them for almost ten years, though highs and lows – so in our final month I am especially pleased that these important foundations will now be in place for the next chapter of our region’s growth. The way the private sector came together to lead the development of a compelling Humber Freeport bid, backed by the LEPs and local authorities, was truly exemplary and I am sure it will now lead to some impressive results.”

As well as the Humber and Teesside they will be located at East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, the Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent and the Thames.

PD Ports welcomed the Government’s decision.

Its Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman, Jerry Hopkinson, said the port operator is immensely grateful to the Government for awarding this opportunity to the Tees Valley.

“As the Statutory Harbour Authority for the River Tees, we are delighted that the Government has awarded our region this opportunity and are now looking forward to continuing to work closely with them to maximise the benefits this will bring to our region,” said Jerry.

“This marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Tees Valley’s renaissance - Freeport status will enable us at PD Ports to build on our successful track record of attracting investment and delivering real, sustainable jobs across the region for the region.

“The River Tees is a national asset for trade and our newly found Freeport status will further help us to unlock its full potential and deliver the prosperity this region deserves.”