Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet has today (January 29) unanimously backed Mayor Ben Houchen’s proposal to submit a bid to Government calling on them to create a freeport in the region.
The move has now delegated powers to the Mayor and Chief Executive to submit the bid to establish one of up to ten Freeports across the UK to Government by Friday, 5 February.
The Mayor has worked with the five local authorities and a range of businesses and port operators to inform the comprehensive bid, which could result in Freeport status being confirmed in a matter of weeks and the first tax and customs incentives in place as early as September.
Areas given Freeport status within the Tees Valley would benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, streamlined planning processes to boost redevelopment and government support to promote regeneration and innovation.
A policy paper developed by the Mayor in 2019 highlighted how Freeport status could turbo-charge the area, adding an extra £2billion to the economy and creating up to 32,000 jobs.
Mayor Houchen said: “The governments Freeport policy is a policy made in Teesside for Teesside and I’m delighted that Cabinet has unanimously backed our game-changing bid
“Delivering this Freeport is a key part of my plan for jobs and this bid will create thousands of good-quality well paid manufacturing jobs, boost our economy and put more money in the pockets of local workers.
“Teesside has been at the forefront of the UK’s Freeport policy for years and we are in a very strong position to be UK’s first and definitely the biggest.
“We have an enviable reputation as a world-leader when it comes to engineering, advanced manufacturing, chemical’s processing and developing clean energy technologies and our bid is designed to capitalise on our reputation and our amazing skills base. It will also support our plans to become the clean energy powerhouse for the UK and help to deliver on the Government’s ambitious target for the UK to be a Net Zero nation by 2050.
“Now that we have left the EU and the transition period, Britain is poised to unleash its full potential. Freed from the anti-free trade policies of the continent and powered by Freeports and a highly skilled workforce, Global Britain is on the brink of a manufacturing renaissance and Teesside is primed to take advantage.”
Cllr Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “A Freeport would bring real and lasting prosperity to Redcar and Cleveland and provide jobs which will bring a better standard of living for many families.
“We have worked closely with our partners to ensure the people of our area would benefit from the Freeport and that the prosperity it will bring feeds back into our local economy. Reaching this point is a key moment and we hope the Government will recognise the huge potential for economic growth that we have in Redcar and Cleveland.
“We now look forward to working with everyone involved to make a great success of such a fantastic opportunity.”