‘Another string in bow’ as Government signs off major East Midlands Freeport plans
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The Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities confirmed the freeport plans have been approved.
The freeport project involves giving three sites across the region special tax incentives to encourage economic growth and development.
This creates low or zero-tax areas to allow businesses to import and export while avoiding tariffs and reducing red tape.
The three areas, known as ‘tax sites’, cover the freeport’s planned bases at East Midlands Airport, Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station and the East Midlands Intermodal Park, near Derby.
The main objectives of the freeport include growth in advanced manufacturing and logistics and a “turbocharging” of net-zero targets. It is hoped the benefits will attract new “high-value, low-carbon” investments.
Estimates last year suggested about 61,000 jobs could be created off the back of the project, including about 28,000 directly at the three sites.
The Government has confirmed it has given official sign-off for the plans to come forward and for the three sites to begin operating as tax zones, alongside up to £25 million in initial funding.
Coun Ben Bradley, Nottinghamshire Council leader and Mansfield MP, said: “It means we will be able to start to take full advantage of the incentives for businesses in the freeport areas, which is great.
“It’s another string to our bow in terms of making the East Midlands a really attractive place to come and invest your money.”
The announcement came on the same day the council signed off on plans for the region’s £1.14 billion devolution deal, designed to bring more powers and funding to local leaders on areas like transport, planning, education and skills and housing.
Coun Bradley said: “I think it’s very poetic that they’ve been ticked off on the same day.
“As a package, across the region, we’re talking £25-30bn of investment and huge economic growth that is really meaningful.
“There are life-changing jobs and education in this and, taking all things together really big steps.”
Jobs touted for the three sites would boost industries including manufacturing, construction, distribution, logistics, transport, clean energy and aviation.