News that the Thames Estuary has been named as the location of an exciting new ‘Freeport’ has been warmly welcomed following the Chancellor’s budget on Wednesday.
This means the Thames Estuary will become one of eight new economic zones in the county, offering tax advantages and custom and tariff reliefs to businesses, and could create up to 25,000 new jobs in the area.
Announcing a number freeports across the country, Mr Sunak said the special economic zones with different rules would “make it easier and cheaper to do business” laying the ground for an economic boom in the region.
Bexley Council leader Teresa O’Neill OBE called it “great news for London” and a “real success” for local growth.
The new freeport was one of eight announced by Rishi Sunak is Wednesday’s Budget (3 March), and will provide “unprecedented economic boost across the UK.”
In addition to the Thames port, the other freepots will be at Plymouth, East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, Humberside, Liverpool City, Solent, and on Teeside.
The sites will be eligible for Stamp Duty and business rates relief, as well as National Insurance relief for employers in some cases.
A further two freeports in the devolved administrations of the UK are still to be announced.
“The new freeport will boost the economy along the estuary and demonstrate our massive potential for future growth,” said Bexley’s O’Neill.
“There is great competition for any new investment and such a high profile development is a real success for the new Thames Estuary Growth Board.”
The council announced this week that Bexley will be refreshing its Growth Strategy, with Bexley Riverside among the areas where the council wants to see new development.
Thames Estuary Envoy, Kate Willard OBE: “We are absolutely delighted to have been selected as a freeport location. We believe that the Thames Estuary is the right place to have freeport status, and are so pleased that the government thinks so too.
“Getting a freeport is an essential part of the Estuary’s recovery and will help it to level-up at this crucial moment in time, post-Brexit and post-Covid.
“The Thames freeport will unlock £400 million of port investment in deprived areas and create more than 25,000 quality jobs, with significant investment in upskilling opportunities.”