The Solent’s Freeport status was been announced by Government in the 2021 budget on Wednesday (3rd March 2021).
The Solent LEP, a partner in the Freeport bid, believes the proposal has the potential to attract £2billion investment and create 52,000 jobs; through opening the potential to bring tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and streamlined planning processes to promote regeneration and innovation.
Focused on some of the Solent’s most disadvantaged communities, the Freeport will see high-quality employment space created, with investment specifically targeted at state-of-the-art growth sectors and ground-breaking approaches to decarbonisation.
The proposal also includes plans to work with the areas’ three world-class universities and research assets, and establish a dedicated Solent Freeport Green Growth Institute to provide a centre of excellence in green skills and jobs.
Chair of the Solent LEP, Brian Johnson said: “The Solent has a very proud maritime heritage, but we don’t live in the past. Today’s announcement represents the start of a new era for the Solent as we begin our work with the Government to create jobs, drive innovation and build sustainable, long-term opportunities now and in the future. The wide coalition of public and private partners brought together by the LEP puts us in the strongest possible position to bring this vision for a Solent Freeport to reality.
As the Nation’s Global Gateway, the Solent Freeport will be critical to ensuring that the UK can remain competitive on an international stage in the years ahead and the LEP is committed to ensuring that our local communities – and in particular our young people – can benefit from the opportunities created.”
Gary Whittle, Commercial Director, Meachers Global Logistics said: “Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the region. Many of our customers import into the UK and export goods around the world from the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth. The proximity to these ports of our exceptional facilities has always been an asset to the business and we see today’s announcement as strategically important for us and our customers.
The Freeport status granted today will make the Solent an even better environment for international trade and this is an exciting prospect for our business, customers and the wider industry.“
The Solent LEP has released a video to celebrate the launch of work to develop a Solent Freeport.