Hartlepool Labour MP Mike Hill has welcomed a proposal to create ‘Supercharged’ Free Ports which would give North East major post-Brexit boost and help re-balance the economy, according to a new report.
Integrating Free Ports with Northern enterprise zones would create as many as 26,000 high-value jobs across the North East, while adding £1.5bn a year to the local economy, according to modelling done by former senior Treasury economist Chris Walker.
It’s been claimed leaving the EU Customs Union will allow the Government to apply ‘Supercharged Free Port’ status to seven ports in the North of England - ensuring Britain is ready to fulfil its global trading potential after leaving the European Union.
Doing so would boost international trade by £12 billion and add £9 billion a year (double the current economic output of York) to the UK’s GDP.
They say this would be equivalent to £1,500 a year extra for each Northern household, creating as many as 150,000 high-value jobs across the North, including as many as 17,583 across Tees and Hartlepool, and 8,583 across Tyne Port.
Research that has been conducted by Mace, the British consultancy and construction company behind The Shard, Dubai Expo 2020 and the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru, says that from March 30, 2021 - after the two year transition period has expired - Britain should make the most of being able to set its own trade policy by immediately designating seven areas across the North of England as ‘Supercharged Free Ports’.
Tees & Hartlepool ports are one of seven suggested Supercharged Free Ports, which also includes the Tyne.
Mr Hill said: “I very much welcome the proposed introduction of a ‘Supercharged’ Free Port covering Tees and Hartlepool.
“As we leave the EU it is vital that we maximise our global trading potential.
“There is plenty of talk about rebalancing the UK economy towards the North, but not enough action.
“Ports like Hartlepool have bags of potential and the proposal could lead to new opportunities for local people, as well as new jobs, apprenticeships and investment.”
Lord Jim O’Neill, Crossbench Member of the House of Lords, former Treasury Minister and former Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs said: “Rebalancing the UK’s economy is crucial to the future success of the whole country. The creation of Free Ports in the North of England will create opportunity, boost growth and free businesses to compete on the global stage.”