The Government wants to level up the UK by ensuring that towns, cities and regions across the country can benefit from the opportunities that leaving the EU brings. Now we have left, the Government aims to create up to 10 Freeports across the UK. These will be innovative hubs which boost global trade, attract inward investment and increase prosperity in the surrounding area by generating employment opportunities in some of our most deprived communities around the UK.

We have drawn on evidence from successful Freeports around the world to develop an ambitious UK Freeport model that could work for rail, sea and airports. We are considering a wide range of measures to make Freeports attractive to domestic and international investors looking to start or grow their UK operations. Tariff flexibility within Freeports will encourage high-tech manufacturing and simpler customs processes facilitated by cutting-edge technology will support smoother international trading activity. Our model also includes tax measures to incentivise private business investment, carefully
considered planning reforms to facilitate much-needed construction and additional targeted funding for infrastructure improvements in Freeport areas to level up communities and increase employment opportunities.

Moreover, Freeports will also offer an exciting opportunity for innovative customs and transport technologies to be trialled in controlled environments. The Government is committed to working in partnership with ports, businesses and local stakeholders to encourage innovation and creativity. Successful trials of processes and technologies could lead to their wider implementation across both other Freeports and relevant sectors of the economy.

We want all the nations of the UK to share in the benefits of Freeports. As such, we are working with the devolved administrations to develop proposals that would enable the creation of Freeports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in addition to those in England. This will ensure that our model is flexible enough for the devolved administrations to take a bespoke approach. As the first step in delivering this exciting agenda, we are consulting on our proposed Freeport policy.

e invite stakeholders to provide suggestions and comments on the policy set out in this paper. This includes our objectives and ambitions for Freeports; the model we have developed and the measures we would include as part of it; and our plans for delivering this agenda, including how the location of Freeports could be selected.

Download the Freeports Consultation Extension PDF here:

Freeports Consultation Extension