Sunderland, South Shields and Blyth sign up for North East Freeport plan expected to create 30,000 jobs
A post-Brexit North East Freeport zone could create more than 60,000 jobs and boost the region’s economy by billions of pounds, says the group behind the plan.
A business and public sector partnership – which also includes Nissan, Newcastle Airport, local councils and the region’s universities - has lodged a bid to create the Freeport, which economists have predicted would generate a £2.1 billion boost to UK exports.
The partnership says Government support could see the Freeport boost the local economy by more than £3.4billion over 10 years and create more than 30,000 new jobs, of which 13,000 would be highly paid ‘better’ jobs. A further 31,000 construction jobs would be generated.
The sites involved would be inter-connected and secured using a state of the art, cybersecure perimeter.
Sunderland City Council leader Coun Graeme Miller chairs the North East Combined Authority: “This is a highly collaborative and compelling bid with the ability to transform the whole of the North East,” he said.
"Crucially, it provides significant opportunities for Nissan and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park.”
Economic analysis by experts Vivid Economics shows the plan would build on existing regional strengths, including the automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors, clean energy industrial base, logistics and digital technologies.
Port of Tyne CEO and Interim Chair of the North East England Freeport Matt Beeton, said: “Our model offers an unrivalled, ‘best of all worlds’ approach, uniting the private and public sectors to provide the region with an exceptional opportunity to benefit from the levelling up potential of digitally enabled economic zones.
The Freeport will include three significant tax sites, totalling approximately 600 hectares, on which businesses will be able to receive a range of special incentives to invest and grow. It will be led by a collaborative Governance Board which will bring together leaders from business, local government, higher education and the ports.
Port of Blyth’s Martin Lawlor added: “This bid consortium offers unrivalled clean growth and manufacturing expertise, and we have the vision, ambition and experience to make this a flagship freeport the UK can be truly proud of.
"We are excited by both the innovation within our bid and the transformative impact our freeport will have on the region.”