No user image
Robert.Jervis_43227 Mar 03

Eight Freeports in England announced

In this Budget, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced the eight English Freeports that will be created
They are located at:
  • East Midlands Airport
  • Felixstowe & Harwich (Freeport East)
  • Humber
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Plymouth and South Devon
  • Solent
  • Teesside 
  • Thames

Subject to agreeing their governance arrangements and successfully completing their business cases, these Freeports will begin operations from late 2021.

The Freeports will contain areas where businesses will benefit from more generous tax reliefs, customs benefits and wider government support, bringing investment, trade and jobs to regenerate regions across the country that need it most.

Discussions continue between the UK Government and the devolved administrations to ensure the delivery of Freeports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

The government will legislate for powers to create ‘tax sites’ in Freeports in Great Britain; it will bring forward legislation to apply in Northern Ireland at a later date. Tax sites within Freeports will need to be approved and confirmed by the government.

Businesses in these tax sites will be able to benefit from a number of tax reliefs:
  • An enhanced 10% rate of Structures and Buildings Allowance for constructing or renovating non-residential structures and buildings within Freeport tax sites in Great Britain, once designated. This means that firms’ investments will be fully relieved after 10 years compared with the standard 33 ¹/³ years at the 3% rate available nationwide. This will be made available for corporation tax and income tax purposes. To qualify, the structure or building must be brought into use on or before 30 September 2026
  • An enhanced capital allowance of 100% for companies investing in plant and machinery for use in Freeport tax sites in Great Britain, once designated. This will apply to both main and special rate assets, allowing firms to reduce their taxable profits by the full cost of the qualifying investment in the year it is made, and will remain available until 30 September 2026
  • Full relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of land or property within Freeport tax sites in England, once designated. Land or property must be purchased and used for a qualifying commercial purpose. The relief will be available until 30 September 2026
  • Full Business Rates relief in Freeport tax sites in England, once designated. Relief will be available to all new businesses, and certain existing businesses where they expand, until 30 September 2026. Relief will apply for five years from the point at which each beneficiary first receives relief
  • Subject to Parliamentary process and approval, the government also intends to make an employer National Insurance contributions relief available for eligible employees in all Freeport tax sites from April 2022 or when a tax site is designated if after this date. This would be available until at least April 2026 with the intention to extend for up to a further five years to April 2031, subject to a review of the relief

Comments include:-


PD Ports Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman, Jerry Hopkinson, said the port operator is immensely grateful to the Government for awarding this opportunity to the Tees Valley.
“As the Statutory Harbour Authority for the River Tees, we are delighted that the Government has awarded our region this opportunity and are now looking forward to continuing to work closely with them to maximise the benefits this will bring to our region.
“This marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Tees Valley’s renaissance - Freeport status will enable us at PD Ports to build on our successful track record of attracting investment and delivering real, sustainable jobs across the region for the region.
“The River Tees is a national asset for trade and our newly found Freeport status will further help us to unlock its full potential and deliver the prosperity this region deserves.”


Stuart Wallace, Chief Operating Officer at Forth Ports (owner of the Port of Tilbury), said:

“This is fantastic news and we are ready to hit the ground running. The Freeport builds upon the successful completion of our new port, Tilbury2 and provides the platform for further expansion. The Freeport policy’s special economic measures will turbocharge the best of the private sector, attracting value add manufacturing activity to the ports, the Thames Estuary and the wider South East, alongside supporting key infrastructure projects in the coming years. The Thames Freeport will be that catalyst to level up the left behind communities along the estuary.”

Dr Graham Hoare OBE, Chairman and Executive Director, Business Transformation, Ford of Britain, added:

“The Thames Freeport will be a new centre of excellence for the country as we electrify, automate and digitise our future. The Freeport provides Ford with a great opportunity as a test bed for a variety of customer-focused mobility technologies and other business opportunities at Ford Dagenham in the future.”

Alan Shaoul, Chief Financial Officer at DP World in the UK (owner of the port and logistics park, London Gateway), commented:

“We are open for business and would urge anyone looking to expand to get in touch to find out more about the benefits of locating at Thames Freeport. Our London Gateway site alone has almost 10m square feet of land that has planning consent, and the capacity to expand materially its operational area and therefore attract new foreign direct investment within the lifetime of this parliament.”

Freeport East

George Kieffer, Chairman of the Freeport East Project Board, said:

“We are delighted to have been chosen by the Chancellor as one of the first new Freeports in the UK for a number of years. Freeport East offers a unique opportunity to build a truly global trade hub at the same time as accelerating opportunities in green energy and helping level-up the economy. We look forward to working with Government to further develop our business plan and to realising the potential that this opportunity represents.”

Clemence Cheng, Executive Director of Hutchison Ports, which owns the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port, said:

“Freeport East is the perfect location to develop a new Freeport. Its position on the main global shipping routes, and with frequent services over to Europe, makes it the ideal place to attract inward investment. It has 50% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity on its doorstep and, working with our partners we will help drive developments in green energy for use in the transport sector as well as across the wider economy.”

Jo Bamford, Executive Chairman of Ryse-Hydrogen said:

"The PM has said the UK will be 'putting a big bet on hydrogen' and the Budget's green light for the Freeport East Hydrogen Hub is a major step towards delivering on these words. The Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will support the creation of thousands of green jobs and feature innovative uses in hydrogen for zero emissions buses, construction equipment, marine and agriculture. Crucially, these UK-made Net Zero technologies can be in use within 12 months and will place East Anglia at the forefront of the global hydrogen economy".

Julia Pyke, Finance director of Sizewell C, added:

"This is a great step forward for the East of England. The Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will deliver on six parts of the PM's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The Chancellor's commitment to Freeport East will now turbo-charge private investment in Net Zero nuclear and hydrogen technology across East Anglia and support the development of one of the world's most exciting and innovative decarbonisation projects.

"We will now develop our hydrogen offering in close cooperation with the port and with the Suffolk councils in order to get national competitive advantage by pursuing things at scale and speed."

Liverpool City Region

Mark Whitworth, CEO, Peel Ports said:
“We are thrilled to hear that the Liverpool City Region has been announced as a Freeport., this will offer a much needed boost to the region, creating investment, regeneration and redevelopment opportunities, all of which, will have a positive impact on local economic growth.
Peel Ports are delighted to be part of the bid team. Our recent infrastructure investments provide a modern gateway for businesses in Northern England to trade globally more efficiently and the tariff and tax benefits offered by Freeports make the port and city region a perfect choice through which to invest in and trade internationally”