Budget 2021: Humber Freeport to have 45km radius and create more than 7,000 jobs

More than 7,000 jobs could be on the way to the Humber after Chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement of "transformative" freeport status for the area.

The country's biggest port operator Associated British Ports says the move, one of only eight in the UK, will bring major investment, with the benefits "felt far beyond just the Humber".

Simon Bird, ABP Humber Director and chair of the Humber Freeport Steerco, hopes the freeport will be up and running before the year is over and bringing in new jobs from 2022.

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He 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."

One of the beneficiaries will be British Steel at Scunthorpe Picture: Ross Parry/ SWNS Group

Freeports are special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business. They include infrastructure planning, customs and favourable duties and taxes.

The Humber's bid was the biggest alongside Teeside - which was also successful - and will cover an area with a 45km radius taking in the ports of Hull, Grimsby, Immingham and Goole.

Three types of sites can be developed within the freeport - customs, tax and seed capital.

The first two are designed to attract new businesses and encourage existing ones to invest in equipment, machinery and people and give them a competitive edge over rivals across the world by slashing tariffs.

The areas around the Humber and Teesside are to be officially designated as freeports Picture: Gary Longbottom

The three tax zones within the freeport boundary includes the Able Marine Energy Park site in north Lincolnshire - which had a double boost as the Chancellor also confirmed £75m funding under the Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme.

AMEP expects to deliver "a globally significant integrated offshore wind manufacturing cluster and bespoke port facility, ultimately employing 1,600 people".

The total AMEP investment is expected to be around £500m. Once complete it will provide almost a mile of new deep-water quay alongside a 500-acre development site.

Chair of the Humber LEP Stephen Parnaby said they were delighted "transformative" bids for the Humber Freeport and Able UK had been successful.

Mr Parnaby said they had been signature projects for the LEP, adding: "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.”

Freeport status will provide greater security for the future of steel making in Scunthorpe as British Steel is allocated as a special “customs” site creating the conditions to develop a greater competitive edge in global markets by reducing tariffs, North Lincolnshire Council said.

Council leader Rob Waltham 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."