The UK’s Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review announcements confirmed that England’s first three freeports – Humber, Teesside and Thames – will be able to start operations in November.

Eight freeport locations were first announced in the spring 2021 budget, as HLPFI reported here.  The commencement of tax zone status for Humber, Thames and Teesside is the next step in their establishment.

Tim Morris, ceo of UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG), commented that the announcement in the budget “maintains momentum” but added: “What we lack is a comprehensive vision for coastal regions, both as the UK’s main gateways for trade and as areas with their own distinct opportunities and challenges.”

Commenting on the other port-related announcements in the budget, Morris summarised: “The inclusion of further funding for green maritime in [the October 27] budget, whilst welcome relative to previous commitments, is unlikely to support the step change required to meet the government’s rhetoric and the sector’s ambitions. Elsewhere some of the general proposals on business rates reform around incentivising investment are in line with what ports have been calling for.”