Port of Hartlepool set to get slice of 32,000 new jobs and £2billion extra output if Tees Valley Freeport proves a success
In early 2019, the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen submitted a policy paper to Government championing a Freeport in Tees Valley, which has the potential to bring 32,000 more jobs to the area.
Freeports are secure customs zones located at ports where business can be carried out inside a country’s land border, but where different customs rules apply.
They can reduce administrative burdens and tariff controls, provide relief from duties and import taxes, and ease tax and planning regulation.
A report from Denise McGuckin, Hartlepool Borough Council managing director, is to go before councillors on Monday, January 18, providing an update on the Tees Valley Freeport bid, which includes Teesport and the Port of Hartlepool.
It also calls on councillors to support the bid and the benefits it could bring to the area.
She said: “The Tees Valley’s bid will be based on our strengths in clean growth and build on our work in decarbonisation of the chemical and process, offshore, and energy sectors.
“It will harness the power of the Tees Valley’s highly skilled workforce, the expertise of our university and technical institutions, and our established and emerging industrial clusters.
“This will not only be realised in the actual Freeport itself but will have significant impacts in all five council areas, through sourcing from local supply chains and targeted recruitment campaigns.”
Her report notes Vivid Economics (2019) has stated that a Tees Valley Freeport has the potential to add up to 32,000 jobs and £2billion of additional output to the region over the next decade.
She adds the region’s bid is expected to be focused on ‘customs zones’ at Teesworks (South Tees Development Corporation) and the Port of Hartlepool.
Hartlepool Council leader Cllr Shane Moore, speaking at full council in February 2020, said the Port of Hartlepool is ‘critical to the economic performance of the town and the wider Tees Valley region’ and stressed the importance of it being in the Freeport bid.
The Government launched a public consultation on Freeport’s in February 2020, which concluded in July and for which a formal response was published in October.
Up to ten Freeport’s will be awarded nationally, with the competition closing on 5th February 2021 and the winners are expected to be announced in the spring.
The bid is being led by Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) in partnership with the region’s five local authorities, and PD Ports in its role as the strategic harbour authority.
A draft bid will be considered by the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership in January, followed by the presentation of a final draft to the TVCA Cabinet on January 29th.
The signatures of the Tees Valley Mayor and local authority leaders, where the Freeport falls in the boundaries of their authority, will be required on a joint letter as part of the bid submission.
Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee will discuss the Freeport update at its meeting on Monday from 10am.