Freeports

Treasury written question – answered on 2nd November 2021.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph A.29 of the Office for Budget Responsibility's report on the Economic and Fiscal Outlook, published in October 2021, what assessment he has made of validity of the assumption used in that report that the effect of freeports will be to alter the location rather than the volume of economic activity.

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Our focus has been to encourage new investment to create new businesses and new economic activity.

When designating Freeports we required bidders to explain how their choice of tax site locations minimises displacement of economic activity from wider local areas, especially other economically disadvantaged areas. The OBR recognised this in their Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

As announced at the Budget, the first Freeport tax sites will be designated on 19 November.

We are already seeing positive evidence of new investment at Freeports. For example, DP World announced an investment of £300 million to support Thames Freeport, while GE Renewable Energy plans to bring their new blade manufacturing plant to Teesport and Siemens Gamesa are investing £186m in expanding their offshore blade manufacturing plant in Hull.

There will be a monitoring and evaluation programme to ensure that Freeports deliver on their objectives and present good value for money.

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