The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) says it’s delighted to be recognised as the UK’s Global Gateway for trade and investment following the announcement of two new Freeports being given Government backing in the Chancellor’s Budget announcement today.
This news means that a quarter of the first eight Freeport locations to be announced in England are located in the South East LEP area – which covers East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock – unlocking up to 38,500 jobs and together contributing £10.1bn gross value added (GVA) to the area.
The allocation of Freeports in the area will directly support the delivery of SELEP’s wider strategy for recovery and renewal. It will cement the South East’s critical role as a global gateway; create a leading location for inward investment; and link the UK with international markets, delivering significant benefits for the South East and the UK as a whole.
Alongside a £5.1 billion boost to GVA, the Thames Freeport will bring to the South East more than £4.5 billion in new public and private investment as well as more than 25,000 new jobs plus more across supply chains. This will provide an opportunity for significant investment in training and skills, bolstering the local workforce.
It will also unlock 1,700 acres of development land and bring a £400 million port investment into some of the most deprived areas in the South East, which – alongside London – contains 20% of the UK’s most deprived communities.
Thames Freeport will connect Ford’s Dagenham engine plant and the global ports of London Gateway and Tilbury, as well as providing invaluable levelling up opportunities for these communities.
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, said:
“This is fantastic news and 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.”