Eight freeports will be established in England as part of the British finance minister’s annual budget unveiled yesterday.
The first tranche of freeports include successful bids from East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe/Harwich, Liverpool, Humber, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
Businesses located within the freeports will benefit from tax breaks including no stamp duty, full rebates for construction and machinery investment, five years of zero business rates, and lower tariffs and customs obligations.
This is a big-bang moment for offshore wind manufacturing in the UK
Commenting on the developments, Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, said: “We welcome this as a first tranche of freeports in England but there will be regions that are disappointed not to have been recognised. These are an interesting selection of bids and we look forward to a continuing a partnership with ministers who rightly recognise the critical role that ports can play in anchoring prosperity and supporting important industries in our coastal communities.”
Other key takeaways from the UK budget yesterday included £20m ($28m) on developing technology for offshore wind farms and £5m on a hydrogen hub in Wales.
Commenting on the news that the UK intends to get more involved in the production of wind turbines via two hubs in the northeast, RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “This is a big-bang moment for offshore wind manufacturing in the UK which will drive investment in a globally competitive domestic supply chain… This new funding to develop world-class offshore wind hubs in Teesside and Humber is a clear example of levelling-up in action.”