Government sets out plans for Freeports


The government has outlined plans to create a number of innovative Freeports across the UK to create jobs, drive investment and regenerate communities.

In early October, when responding to a consultation on the proposals, it confirmed that sea, air and rail ports in England will be invited to bid for Freeport status before the end of the year. The aim is for the first of the new sites to be open for business in 2021. It confirmed Freeports will benefit from streamlined planning processes to aid brownfield development; a package of tax reliefs to help drive jobs, growth and innovation; and simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods.

It claimed that Freeports will help to drive the country’s growth following Brexit. Designed to attract major domestic and international investment, they will allow places to carry out business inside a country’s land border but where different customs rules apply. The Treasury noted they have been used successfully in countries around the world to “drive prosperity and boost trade”.