As found in The Star:
MPs across political lines have come together to back South Yorkshire’s ambitions of a freeport in the region – an enterprise zone which brings tax and customs benefits.
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 Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him chose South Yorkshire.
Backers and likely benefactors if successful include Sheffield Forgemaster, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Liberty Steel in Stocksbridge and Rotherham, McLaren Automotive and various other advanced manufacturing enterprises across the region.
New modelling suggests a freeport in the South Yorkshire could:
● Create 28,700 new jobs
● Increase wages by at least east 19 per cent due to a focus on advanced manufacturing
● Add £169m to the South Yorkshire economy every year
● Boost imports by £306m and exports by £410m
● Transform the Sheffield City Region into a net exporter of goods by 2029
The freeport itself centres around Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the iPort logistics hub as well as major manufacturers with more than 360 hectares of land primed for development at GatewayEast, Junction 36 and iPort.
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 ports – either inland or coastal – where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. Freeports are similar to free zones or ‘enterprise zones’, specifically targeted at those businesses who import, process and re-export goods.
Nick Fletcher, 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.”