Government approves Liverpool City Region Freeport business case

The Government has approved the outline business case for Liverpool City Region Freeport.

Now, the final stage in development is to submit a full business case later this month (April).

Assuming it is approved in the spring, the new Freeport will receive funding of £25m and will be open for business in early summer, boosting the city region’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

Liverpool City Region is one of just eight Freeports in England. Its status was confirmed by the Chancellor in his Budget in March last year.

Freeports will enable firms to carry out trade under different customs rules.

They new are expected to be hubs of business and enterprise which have the potential to create thousands of jobs, help regenerate communities and establish Britain’s post-Brexit place in the world.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The establishment of the Liverpool City Region helps cement our status as a leader in global trade and industry, and will help us attract critical inward investment and create well paid, highly skilled jobs. It is predicted that our Freeport has the potential to add an additional £850m to the local economy and will help us to build on some of our existing world class strengths.

“But, for us, it means much more than that. Throughout this journey, I’ve asked for guarantees to ensure that we’ll use our as a Freeport as a force for good, to help build an economy that works for everyone in our region.

“I want to attract investors into our region who believe in, and support, our local ambitions – those who will help us to protect workers’ rights and uphold standards, and who want to work with us to regenerate and invest in the areas that need it most.”

He added: “Our Freeport will offer lots of opportunities for the Liverpool City Region. It’s my vision to ensure that there is purpose behind that status – that not only drives our economy, but fuels greater social mobility, innovation, and inclusion for our whole region.”

John Lucy, the Liverpool City Region Freeport director, said: “Having our outline business case accepted is a hugely significant step towards our Freeport becoming operational and attracting businesses to take advantage of the full range of benefits we can offer, which will, in turn, create thousands of sustainable, high quality jobs.

“We will attract additional trade through the port of Liverpool but the Freeport will bring benefits for the whole of the Liverpool City Region, extending as it does over a large part of our region with a number of sites offering benefits to businesses.”

He added: “There’s a comprehensive measure of packages that includes tax relief and support for customs, business rates, planning, regeneration, R&D and upskilling to name just a few. At the same time, new technologies and sustainable innovations are taking centre stage and providing answers to the challenges that a lot of large, complex companies are facing.”

Liverpool City Region Freeport will be a designated area covering 45km, where a range of economic incentives will be available, covering customs, business rates, planning, regeneration, innovation and trade and investment support.

The LCR Freeport will create a low carbon, multi-modal, multi-gateway trade platform with a network of sites attracting high value investment, supporting growth and employment to regenerate communities through advanced industry, innovation, and collaboration.

Centred on a mix of infrastructure including the deep water container terminal at the Port of Liverpool – the UK’s biggest western facing port, which already handles 45% of trade from the US – it’s the key coastal access point to the UK’s largest concentration of manufacturing.

Targeting key sectors including automotive, biomanufacturing/pharmaceuticals and maritime, the LCR Freeport will also support and attract new advanced manufacturing, logistics and low carbon energy industries.