As found in The Yorkshire Post:
South Yorkshire MPs have come together across political lines in a bid to persuade Ministers to allow the county to host a low-tax 'freeport' which could bring thousands of jobs to the area.
Labour MPs including Rosie Winterton and Sarah Champion joined recently-elected 'blue wall' Tories such as Miriam Cates and Nick Fletcher in writing to Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to choose South Yorkshire as one of ten new freeports – where normal tax and customs rules do not apply – across the county.
The bid centres around Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the iPort logistics hub, major manufacturers including Sheffield Forgemasters and Liberty Steel and some 900 acres of land primed for development.
Modelling by backers of the scheme suggests a freeport in South Yorkshire would create 28,700 new jobs and increase wages by at least 19 per cent due to a focus on advanced manufacturing.
It is also predicted that the scheme would add £169m to the South Yorkshire economy every year and transform the Sheffield City Region into a net exporter of goods by 2029.
Business bosses say the bid will make South Yorkshire the ‘largest advanced manufacturing hub in Europe, putting the area at the heart of world-class innovation’.
Freeports are part of a Government strategy and Richmond MP Mr Sunak has put them at the heart of the levelling up agenda and his plans for post-Brexit Britain. They are similar to free zones or ‘enterprise zones’, specifically targeted at those businesses who import, process and re-export goods.
Customs duty becomes payable only when the goods, possibly after processing, enter the domestic market. Other incentives on tax, planning and reduced red tape may also be available.
Mr Sunak said recently: “Our new freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, levelling up communities across the UK, creating new jobs, and turbo-charging our economic recovery.”
The Government has committed to creating at least 10 Freeports beginning in 2021, with at least one in every nation of the UK.
Multiple bids have already been submitted to the Government along the east coast alone, with Felixstowe, Newcastle , the Humber and Teesport also throwing their hats into the ring.
There are more than 70 freeports in the European Union and freeports existed in the UK before 2012. Supporters of freeports argue that their effectiveness is reduced by EU rules on state aid and that leaving the EU means freeports will be able to provide greater opportunities for the UK.
n the UK before 2012. Supporters of freeports argue that their effectiveness is reduced by EU rules on state aid and that leaving the EU means freeports will be able to provide greater opportunities for the UK.
Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley said: “A freeport in South Yorkshire could transform the lives of my constituents and others in South Yorkshire while bringing in substantial new investments and businesses to our region, that’s why MPs from across the divide have come together to write to the Chancellor.
“Our unique inland port combination should tick all the Government’s boxes – we have the space to grow, proven expertise to deliver, plans for high-quality job creation and to make a significant contribution to the Net Zero agenda.”
Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone & Stocksbridge, Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley, Gill Furniss, Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, Alexander Stafford, Conservative MP for Rother Valley and Dame Rosie Winterton, Labour MP for Doncaster Central, have all written to the Chancellor.
Separately, Trade Minister Graham Stuart, the Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, has made the case for a Humber Freeport.
He recently met with top brass at East Riding Council, including its Chief Executive, Caroline Lacey, and council leader Richard Burton, to discuss the bid.
Mr Stuart said: “The Humber Freeport bid would be a fantastic opportunity to build on the pioneering work already being done in our region, especially in the field of tackling climate change through developments in hydrogen-generated electricity, offshore wind and carbon capture technologies.
“Securing freeport status would attract investment and encourage innovation, which in turn would create more skilled, well-paid jobs for my constituents in Beverley and Holderness.”