East Midlands Freeport given green light for take-off
The Government has named the first eight Freeport locations around the UK – areas where it will be possible to carry out trade under different customs rules.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his Budget on Wednesday afternoon that Freeports will be established in Thames (including London Gateway Port and the Port of Tilbury), Liverpool City Region, Solent, East Midlands, Freeport East (Felixstowe and Harwich), Humber and Teeside.
The East Midlands Freeport will be unique inland facility based around East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC) in North West Leicestershire, Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station site in Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP) in South Derbyshire.
Sunak described the areas as “taking a unique approach” to doing business as he gave a strong message of recovery, with measures to extend support to businesses and individuals well beyond the scheduled loosening of restrictions that Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out last month.
Businesses located in the freeport sites will benefit from: an enhanced 10% rate of Structures and Buildings Allowance for constructing or renovating non-residential structures and buildings; an enhanced capital allowance of 100% for companies investing in plant and machinery for use in Freeport tax sites in Great Britain, once designated; full relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of land or property within Freeport tax sites in England, once designated; and full Business Rates relief in Freeport tax sites in England, once designated.
Neil Berry, tax partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, said: “It’ll be fascinating to see what gets wrapped around the Freeport at East Midlands Airport, as they will certainly make it easier for businesses to trade with each other, so we’ll wait to see who can really benefit from this move.”
Jay Boyce, partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, added: “The Chancellor has presented Freeports as an chance to grasp the opportunities that Brexit will bring. The reality will be found in the detail, but they certainly give businesses an opportunity to grow out of recession.”
TheBusinessDesk.com’s landmark Invest Midlands all-day conference in May will feature a dedicated session on Freeports with high profile speakers.
Sir John Peace, chairman of the Midlands Engine, said: “I am delighted that the Chancellor’s Budget Statement recognises the huge potential for economic growth represented by Humber Ports and East Midlands Airport by announcing that they will become the locations for two of the eight new Freeports in the UK.
“Taken together, both Freeports within the Midlands Engine will be transformational catalysts for widespread changes and a key component of levelling up the Midlands. They will play a crucial role in driving up economic potential, rapidly accelerating existing initiatives, tackling skills and productivity gaps, increasing investment and delivering long term growth in our region.
“Most significantly, the Freeports of Humber Ports and East Midlands Airport will further enhance the central role of the Midlands Engine as a global gateway for the UK – building on our position as a proven powerhouse of international trade.
“The focus on green growth measures is also welcome, as the Midlands continues to play a central role in driving the new Green Industrial Revolution, and I am delighted too, with the Towns Fund announcements. Success here reflects the considerable work led by partners and recognises the importance of our regions’ towns, their hinterlands, and the critical role they play in levelling up every part of the Midlands Engine.”