A new generation of Freeports can support levelling up and help to kickstart the green recovery

Head of Transport at KPMG UK, Ed Thomas comments on the Chancellor’s announcements today

Ed Thomas comments on the Chancellor’s announcements today

Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcements today, Ed Thomas, Head of Transport at KPMG UK, said:

“After a rigorous bidding process across England for Freeports, the Chancellor today gave eight locations the good news that they have been successful. Similar competitions are expected to take place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in due course, but the details need to be ironed out with the devolved administrations first."

“The concept of Freeports is not new, however, the package on offer this time appears to be particularly attractive. For manufacturers, the deferral of customs duties will help cashflow in the supply chain and promote re-exports.  For businesses within so-called ‘tax sites’, there will be relief from business rates and national insurance. Local authorities will also benefit from being able to retain the associated incremental business rates for 25 years in a similar way to Enterprise Zones."

 “Enabling commercial investment at ports to be brought forward at a quicker pace can generate tax revenues for reinvestment in infrastructure, skills and regeneration – creating more jobs, increasing wages and making a real contribution to the ambition of zero carbon."

“The Freeports initiative is not without its cynics, and similar initiatives such as Enterprise Zones have not been universally successful. But today’s announcement is a positive development and, if properly implemented, has significant potential to provide a meaningful boost to some of our most significant economic industries and communities – although different locations will have different levels of commitments from developers, local authorities and end-users.”



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