East Midlands Airport is one of the 8 Freeport locations announced in the Budget

The Government has named the first eight Freeport locations around the UK – areas where it will be possible to carry out trade under different customs rules.  East Midlands is the only airport chosen so far. There will be 10 Freeports in total, with the last 2 announced later.  Several other airports also applied for Freeport status (including Heathrow and Gatwick). Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the 8 locations in his Budget (3rd March). The East Midlands facility will be based around the airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC) in North West Leicestershire, Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station site in Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP) in South Derbyshire. Sunak will be hoping the Freeports create jobs and aid the “recovery”. The areas will get a numb er of special allowances, including full relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of land or property within Freeport tax sites, and full Business Rates relief once designated.  However, it is likely that jobs will merely transfer into the Freeport areas from elsewhere, rather than be a total addition. There are also concerns about Freeports being used for various criminal and fraudulent activities – as has happened in the past.


East Midlands Freeport given green light for take-off

March 03 2021
By Sam Metcalf (The Business Desk)

The Government has named the first eight Freeport locations around the UK – areas where it will be possible to carry out trade under different customs rules.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his Budget on Wednesday afternoon that Freeports will be established in Thames (including London Gateway Port and the Port of Tilbury), Liverpool City Region, Solent, East Midlands, Freeport East (Felixstowe and Harwich), Humber and Teeside.

The East Midlands Freeport will be unique inland facility based around East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC) in North West Leicestershire, Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station site in Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP) in South Derbyshire.

Sunak described the areas as “taking a unique approach” to doing business as he gave a strong message of recovery, with measures to extend support to businesses and individuals well beyond the scheduled loosening of restrictions that Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out last month.

Businesses located in the freeport sites will benefit from: an enhanced 10% rate of Structures and Buildings Allowance for constructing or renovating non-residential structures and buildings; an enhanced capital allowance of 100% for companies investing in plant and machinery for use in Freeport tax sites in Great Britain, once designated; full relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of land or property within Freeport tax sites in England, once designated; and full Business Rates relief in Freeport tax sites in England, once designated.

Neil Berry, tax partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, said: “It’ll be fascinating to see what gets wrapped around the Freeport at East Midlands Airport, as they will certainly make it easier for businesses to trade with each other, so we’ll wait to see who can really benefit from this move.”

Jay Boyce, partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, added: “The Chancellor has presented Freeports as an chance to grasp the opportunities that Brexit will bring. The reality will be found in the detail, but they certainly give businesses an opportunity to grow out of recession.”

TheBusinessDesk.com’s landmark Invest Midlands all-day conference in May will feature a dedicated session on Freeports with high profile speakers.

Sir John Peace, chairman of the Midlands Engine, said: “I am delighted that the Chancellor’s Budget Statement recognises the huge potential for economic growth represented by Humber Ports and East Midlands Airport by announcing that they will become the locations for two of the eight new Freeports in the UK.

“Taken together, both Freeports within the Midlands Engine will be transformational catalysts for widespread changes and a key component of levelling up the Midlands. They will play a crucial role in driving up economic potential, rapidly accelerating existing initiatives, tackling skills and productivity gaps, increasing investment and delivering long term growth in our region.

“Most significantly, the Freeports of Humber Ports and East Midlands Airport will further enhance the central role of the Midlands Engine as a global gateway for the UK – building on our position as a proven powerhouse of international trade.

“The focus on green growth measures is also welcome, as the Midlands continues to play a central role in driving the new Green Industrial Revolution, and I am delighted too, with the Towns Fund announcements. Success here reflects the considerable work led by partners and recognises the importance of our regions’ towns, their hinterlands, and the critical role they play in levelling up every part of the Midlands Engine.”



In the March 3rd Budget, the Treasury says:


• East Midlands Airport Freeport will create a regional hub for trade, innovation and commerce.

P 62
2.113 Freeports in England – East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth and South Devon, Solent, Teesside and Thames have been successful in the Freeports bidding process for England. 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.

See also

In 2020

EU clamps down on free ports over crime and terrorism links

Moves comes as Britain launches consultation on creation of up to 10 of the zones

By Daniel Boffey in Brussels (Guardian)

Mon 10 Feb 2020

Brussels is clamping down on 82 free ports or free zones after identifying that their special tariff and duty status has aided the financing of terrorism, money laundering and organised crime.

A set of new rules was introduced by the European commission just weeks before the launch on Monday of a UK government consultation on the creation of up to 10 free ports in post-Brexit Britain.

Authorities across the EU have been obliged since 10 January to take extra measures to identify and report suspicious activities at the ports and zones as a result of the “high incidence of corruption, tax evasion, criminal activity”.

…. and it continues …



The plans for all eight freeports announced in Rishi Sunak’s Spring Budget

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed the locations of the new Freeports in England



The Chancellor has announced the location of eight regional freeports in the Spring Budget after a bidding process that began earlier this year.

He confirmed that Freeports will be located at East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, the Humber region, the Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.

Mr Sunak said the freeports will have “simpler planning”, “cheaper customs – with favourable tariffs, VAT or duties”, and lower taxes – with “tax breaks to encourage construction, private investment and job creation”

More on what Freeports are here. https://www.business-live.co.uk/ports-logistics/what-are-free-ports-19287027

The plan is to create 10 zones around the country to benefit from import and export tax reliefs with the aim of helping create jobs, growth, and innovation. There were 30 in the bidding process including some of the biggest names in the UK ports sector such as Dover, Southampton, Port of Tyne, Bristol and Milford Haven.

A further announcement on the remaining two ports is expected later in the year.

Here’s what’s planned for each Freeport:

East Midlands Airport

Business leaders and politicians say creating a low-tax freeport around East Midlands Airport in central England could support 60,000 new jobs.

Supporters of the scheme on the border of Leicestershire/Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire submitted their formal bid in February.

It would take in the Leicestershire airport which has seen unprecedented levels of commercial business during lockdown with new demand for pure cargo flights making up for much of the business lost from passenger travel.

Meanwhile surrounding warehouse and business parks such as the vast new Segro Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway, with its own rail freight terminal, have benefited from their proximity to the airport and the M1 and from being within a couple of hours drive of a huge chunk of the UK population.

The regional scheme could also take in energy company Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station plans in Nottinghamshire, and the East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP) in South Derbyshire.

Sectors that could benefit might include advanced manufacturing, automotive and logistics, including big employers such as Rolls-Royce, Toyota, and Bombardier.

… then there is a lot about other ports …



See earlier:

Heathrow, Gatwick and East Midlands apply for UK Freeport status

Heathrow, Gatwick, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports have applied to the government for Freeport status. The period for applications closed on 5th February.  There are 33 applicants, and the government is expected to announce 10 – for all the UK – by “the spring” (ie. probably by June). The scheme comes following Brexit and as the government looks to create new trade links.  Freeports are sites where normal tax and customs rules do not apply.  They can be airports or maritime ports, and can be made up of a consortium of both as long as all sites are within a similar geographic location. Companies using Freeports will be able to import goods without paying tariffs, process them into a final good and then either pay a tariff on goods sold into the domestic market, or export the final goods without paying UK tariffs.  Areas given Freeport status will also benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, including on purchasing land, constructing or renovating buildings, investing in new plant and machinery assets and on Employer National Insurance Contributions.  There were 7 freeports between 1984 and 2012 (eg. Liverpool and Southampton ports), after which UK legislation changed and their use was not renewed.

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