Humber Freeport is given the go-ahead

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury today confirmed in the House of Commons that the Humber Freeport’s Final Business Case has secured conditional approval, subject to set-up of the planned Customs Zone.

In an answer to a question from Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, Rt Hon John Glen MP said: “The Humber Freeport is already open for business, supporting the regeneration of the region by creating jobs and attracting new business investment.

“I am pleased to confirm the full business case for the Humber Freeport has now been conditionally approved by the Treasury, with full approval being subject to the customs site being designated and the Freeport signing an MOU with the Department for Levelling Up.”

This paves the way for the full set up of the Freeport Company and for the new body to focus on the delivery of the new jobs and investment planned for the area.

Humber Freeport chairman, Simon Bird, responded: “This is excellent news and means that the most important milestone on the journey to delivering new jobs and investment to the Humber has been passed.

“This has been a two-and-a-half year project to get to this stage, involving a partnership of local authorities, business groups and universities.

“We have very exciting times ahead for the Humber area, with a plan to bring at least 7,000 new high-quality jobs and investment for years to come.”

Securing Freeport status for the Humber is intended to act as a catalyst to accelerate economic growth. The ports of Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby together handle around 17% of the nation’s trade.

David Gwynne, interim chief executive of the Humber Freeport, said: “Following today’s announcement, we will conclude the establishment of the new freeport company and look forward to the hard work to turn the business case vision into reality.”

Rob Walsh, chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council, added: “Today’s excellent news is the culmination of over two years of work involving a large partnership from across the Humber.

“I am pleased that North East Lincolnshire Council, as the accountable body for the Freeport, will now get to play our role in helping to make the new company as efficient and accountable as possible so that it can focus on delivering new jobs and transforming the area.”

As previously outlined, the Humber Freeport will:

  • Contain customs zone sites all across the Humber including the four main ports.
  • Feature three new tax sites on both banks of the Humber that will incentivise growth in new manufacturing, research and development and green energy jobs.
  • Include an agreement to complement tax sites by targeting significant seed capital resources to ensure the benefits of Freeport status is felt across all four Humber local authority areas, including at the South Humber Industrial Investment site near Stallingborough in North East Lincolnshire.
  • Secure significant inward investment from blue-chip multinationals with the potential to attract and drive both supply chain and innovation eco-structures.
  • Use local labour to help tackle issues of deprivation not just in the Humber but in surrounding areas in Doncaster, Wakefield and Leeds.

Humber’s Ports handle the materials that supply 10% of the nation’s energy, 25% of the UK’s fuel for its vehicles, and almost a third of Britain’s national timber.

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