Tees Valley and Humber given chance to bid for free port status by Rishi Sunak

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Proposals to develop up to 10 new low tax 'free ports' in the UK have taken a step closer with the Treasury inviting applications for the scheme.

Monday, 16th November 2020, 11:43 am Updated Monday, 16th November 2020, 11:46 am Areas selected will benefit from a range of tax reliefs, including on the purchase of land, and the programme will create thousands of jobs, the Treasury said.

The bidding for free ports opens on Monday for seven spots in England, with the first expected to open in 2021. Leaders in the Tees Valley and Humber areas are among those expected to bid for one of the spots.

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The free port model works by allowing companies to import goods tariff-free and only paying once it was sold into the domestic market, or exporting the final goods without paying UK tariffs. The UK has had seven free ports in its history, but none since 2012 when the Statutory Instruments which allowed ones in Liverpool, Southampton, Port of Tilbury, Port of Sheerness and Prestwick Airport, expired.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Our new free ports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, levelling up communities across the UK, creating new jobs, and turbo-charging our economic recovery. "As we embrace our new opportunities as an independent trading nation, we want to deliver lasting prosperity to the British people and

Tees Valley and Humber given chance to bid for free port status by Rishi SunakChancellor Rishi Sunak pictured in Leeds earlier this year.

Pic: PA

free ports will be key to delivering this."

Bids need to be submitted by February and will be assessed by a panel chaired by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government ahead of a decision in spring.

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