Plymouth & South Devon Freeport Announced In March Budget
In the March 2021 Budget announcement, it was confirmed that Plymouth is to be one of just eight new freeports in England. The importance of this should not be underestimated. The tax and other advantages of freeport status are significant and should provide a real boost to job creation both in Plymouth and across South Devon generally.
This new UK freeport is to be called ‘Plymouth and South Devon Freeport’ and the successful bid was put forward by Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council, South Hams District Council, and the heart of the South West LEP.
The extent of the freeport area must be contained within a 45km diameter outer perimeter unless a special case can be demonstrated. Up to 600 hectares of that area can be designated as being where the tax incentives on offer apply. Sites at Devonport South Yard, Langage Energy Zone, and Sherford Business Park are all currently under consideration for inclusion in the freeport.
The tax and other incentives on offer include:
- Stamp duty land tax exemptions
- Enhanced capital allowances for expenditure on plant and machinery
- Five years’ full business rates relief
- Relief from employers’ national insurance contributions
- Simplified import procedures
- Suspension of tariffs and import VAT on goods brought in from overseas unless and until the goods enter the domestic market
- Streamlined planning process
Plymouth City Council has indicated that up to 1,000 new jobs could be created in the first two years and up to 9,000 new jobs over the next ten years, with 50 new apprenticeships and 10 internships every year by 2027.
They expect more than 70 local businesses to benefit from the scheme and forecast £100m of investment in the next six years.
Following a period of uncertainty and business disruption, the Freeport is undoubtedly a welcome addition to the city.
The other freeports have been named as the Liverpool City region, the Humber region, East Midlands Airport, the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich in Essex, Solent, Thames and Teeside.