This submission also needs to be set in the context of last week’s report by the Centre for Cities think-tank which identified Hull as one of the cities most susceptible to the Covid recession due to factors like its demographics, job opportunities and low wages. Here now is a chance for the Government to demonstrate its commitment to narrowing the North-South divide by enabling the four Humber ports of Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby, which come under the auspices of Associated British Ports, to exploit more competitive tax rates to further boost trade – and job opportunities.
Such a move wouldn’t just harness the potential of the four ports that had been under-utilised by successive governments before the presence of offshore wind turbine manufacturer Siemens on the banks of the Humber changed the whole landscape of the area; it would encourage more firms to relocate to the area and have knock-on benefits for the local supply chain.
But it would require the Government to be more open-minded and accept that it also owes Hull, and the East Coast, after the region’s fishing fleets were left compromised by the new trade deal with the European Union. This is an early chance for Ministers to make amends and turn the economic tide on the Humber – and further up the coast at Teesside which has its own freeport plans. They should take it.
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