Teesside free port vision mooted

A screengrab from Policy North's report showing the free port graphic A screengrab from Policy North's report showing the free port graphic

Think-tank Policy North has offered a vision of what a free port in Teesside, located in the north east of England in the UK, following on from calls to grant Teesside free port status.

The think-tank, based in the north east of England, has created a graphic including a free port zone, a land border and a customs border.

In its report, named The Great North Free Port, five key recommendations are made: departing from the Customs Union; establishing a “pilot” free port at PD Ports’ Teesport; having the government incorporate this facility into its Industrial Strategy; integrating this port with local education and training partners; and attracting support of devolved partners.

Using the economic impact of free trade zones in the US, the think-tank expects that a free port at Teesport would create an extra 1,300 jobs.

Policy North is to send the report to government in a bid to create a Teesside free port.

In the document’s foreword, Simon Clarke, UK Member of Parliament (MP) for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: “It is a combination of Teesside’s economic potential and the need for well-paying, skilled jobs that means a free port on Teesside is such an exciting, transformational proposition.”

Those supporting the idea of a free port in Teesside include MP for Redcar Anna Turley and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

Those who back the concept say it could make £50m for the economy.

In Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Clarke asked UK Prime Minister Theresa May to “look seriously” at the idea and said it would place “rocket boosters under the economy on Teesside”.

The Prime Minister, who visited Teesside in August last year, responded: “When I visited Ben Houchen and visited Teesport, this was one of the proposals they did put to me.

“I know my Right Honourable friend the Chancellor has confirmed recently [that] we do remain open to ideas that could drive growth and provide benefits to the UK and its people, and so we will keep all these options under consideration.”

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