Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak visit North East to mark Teesside Freeport announcement
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have been in the North East on Thursday, March 4 following the announcement of a new jobs-boosting freeport on Teesside.
They visited PD Ports’ Teesport site in Middlesbrough, which will become the country’s largest Freeport after the Chancellor’s budget announcement.
It is said the freeport, which will also include the Port of Hartlepool and Able Seaton Port, could create 32,000 jobs and add £2billion to the region’s economy.
Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak spoke to PD Ports CEO Frans Calje and met with some of the port group’s apprentices.
The Chancellor said: “It’s great to be in Teesport today as we confirm that we’re bringing a freeport to the area.
"Our eight new freeports across England will unlock billions of pounds of private investment, generate trade and create thousands of jobs in communities like Tees Valley, giving people optimism and ambition for the future as we build back better from the pandemic.”
Freeports offer simpler planning regulation, cheaper customs including favourable tariffs, VAT or duties, and tax breaks and Teesside’s is expected to provide a major boost through the offshore wind, clean energy, chemicals and process, and advanced manufacturing sectors.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen of the combined authority led the bid, backed by Hartlepool Borough Council, while port operator PD Ports consulted over 100 businesses and organisations to develop the plans.
He said it will create 18,000 skilled jobs within five years.
PD Ports’ CEO Frans Calje added: “It has been a privilege to welcome the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to Teesport today at the beginning of a new chapter in our region’s renaissance.
"We are immensely grateful for the opportunity that the Government has given us in awarding freeport status and look forward to continuing to work closely with the Government to maximise the benefits this will bring.
"The River Tees is a national asset that has huge potential to drive global trade and exports, level-up our economy and lead the fight against climate change.
"Our new freeport will help us unleash that potential and deliver the prosperity this region deserves.”