To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to improve the bid assessment proposals for freeports in response to the findings of the Public Accounts Committee on the towns fund selection process in its report Selecting towns for the Towns Fund, published 11 November 2020.
My Department and the Treasury have developed a robust approach to assessing Freeport bids. We consulted publicly on the objectives of the Freeports policy and have set out clearly in the Freeports Bidding Prospectus what these are and how bids will be assessed against them. This includes explicitly stating (in Section 5) how information requested from bidders will be marked, how these marks will be weighted, and how bids will qualify for the appointable list. Finally, we have published (also in Section 5 of the Bidding Prospectus) the factors Ministers will consider when assessing this list and have committed to publishing the rationales for successful bids’ selection.