UK government gives freeports conditional approval

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UK government gives freeports conditional approval

Following approval of their final business cases, Humber and Thames freeports in the UK are set to begin operating sometime this year, Port Strategy reports.

The latter is already authorized to form its board and begin operating fully. 

While Humber Freeport company’s conditional approval allows it to begin investment across the ports of Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby, as well as providing new job offers.

“This has been a two-and-a-half year project to get to this stage, involving a partnership of local authorities, business groups and universities,” said Humber Freeport chair, Simon Bird, to the publication.

Freeports were first introduced in the UK after 1984, as a way to kickstart the economy, with Liverpool and Southampton in the front lines. In 2012, freeports were gradually put out of business.

Commodities imported into freeports, such as raw materials, are exempt from tariffs. While finished products must pay taxes when exported to elsewhere in the UK.

With this, the Sunak administration hopes to attract new investment to areas that “need it most”. 

“We have very exciting times ahead for the Humber area, with a plan to bring at least 7,000 new high-quality jobs and investment for years to come,” Bird added.

However, critics argue that tax breaks in England's freeports could cost the UK government up to £50M (USD$61.678.850) a year.

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