Hampshire to get freeport that could create 25,000 jobs

Thursday March 4th, 2021

ABP Southampton Freeports

Photo credit: ABP Southampton


Hampshire has been given the go-ahead for the “freeport” that its supporters say could generate 25,000 local jobs.


Southampton-born chancellor Rishi Sunak announced at the end of his Budget speech that Solent was one of eight areas to have its freeport bid approved.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which submitted the application, has said more than £2billion could be invested in the region under the proposal, which would mean lower taxes and less red tape for businesses in designated areas.

Freeport sites will see the usual customs rules, planning policies and business taxes lifted, so businesses can import materials and components and then export them without the normal tariffs or regulations. Solent LEP’s proposal would set up a range of low-tax and customs-free sites across the area.

Solent LEP chair 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 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.”

The Solent LEP has released a video to celebrate the launch of work to develop a Solent Freeport.


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