Thames Freeport plan for 25,000 new jobs applauded by SELEP

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Rishi Sunak's announcement of a freeport serving the Thames Estuary has been warmly welcomed by the body promoting growth and jobs in the region.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) described the Chancellor's announcement during the Budget on Wednesday as "fantastic news" which would bring "much-welcomed jobs".

The Thames Freeport was one of eight announced by the Chancellor
The Thames Freeport was one of eight announced by the Chancellor

One of eight to be green-lit, the port will be spearheaded by DP World and Forth Ports and built to incorporate Tilbury Docks, near the Dartford Crossing, as well as London Gateway.

A freeport is described by the government as "a secure customs zones located at ports where business can be carried out inside a country's land border, but where different customs rules apply. They can reduce administrative burdens and tariff controls, provide relief from duties and import taxes, and ease tax and planning regulations".

SELEP says not only will the Thames Freeport unlock 1,700 acres of development land but also bring a £400 million port investment.

It is hoped it could generate more than 25,000 new jobs as well as more across supply chains.

Thames Freeport will connect Ford’s Dagenham engine plant in Essex and the global ports of London Gateway and Tilbury.

SELEP chair Christian Brodie said of Thames Freeport: “This is fantastic news and a much-welcomed jobs boost for the South East LEP area. This is exactly the form of investment that is needed along the estuary, and it is great to see government recognising the huge potential of the area.”

Stuart Wallace, chief operating officer at Forth Ports, owner of the Port of Tilbury, added: "We are ready to hit the ground running. The freeport policy’s special economic measures will turbocharge the best of the private sector to level up the left behind communities along the estuary.”

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