‘Supercharged free ports’ in the north could add £1,500 to household incomes
A new report by ex-Treasury economist Chris Walker, commissioned by international consultancy and construction company Mace, has outlined future possibilities for the UK post-Brexit which focuses on the creation of seven ‘supercharged free ports’.
With the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) looming, it is crucial to start looking at ways that the country can thrive, whether or not we leave or stay in the customs union. The report, which works on the basis of the UK leaving the customs union, highlights seven areas where supercharged free port status could be implemented: Immingham & Grimsby, Hull, Rivers Hull & Humber, Tees & Hartlepool, Liverpool, Tyne and Manchester Airport.
The designated ports would become enterprise zones which allow for goods to be imported tariff-free, stimulating private investment and delivering regional economic growth.
Research has shown that the introduction of the ports could boost international trade by £12bn and add an additional £9bn to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually, which is equivalent to an annual household income rise of £1,500 across the North. It is also thought that 150,000 jobs could be created.
Director for the North at Mace, Steve Gillingham, commented: “Our ports in the North, including Hull, Immingham and Grimsby, make up some of our country’s greatest assets. Transforming these ports into Supercharged Free Ports, as this report suggests would ensure the North is well placed to drive post-Brexit growth and help rebalance the UK economy.
“This would not only drive industrial and economic development, but also create thousands of jobs which would in turn help to reduce inequality across Yorkshire.”
The word ‘Brexit’ rarely inspires positive feelings, particularly regarding the future of trade, but this report is welcomed and brings with it hope for the UK post-EU – particularly for the northern regions which continue to push forward with the Northern Powerhouse initiative in an aim to rebalance the national economy away from the capital.