Britain’s freeports are ‘energising areas and sowing the seed of future economic success’ says Jacob Rees-Mogg

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Minister for Brexit Opportunities Jacob Rees-Mogg visits Immingham docks, Grimsby and Cleethorpes. Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street

Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has paid visits to Immingham docks, Grimsby and Cleethorpes this week to explore Brexit opportunities to the fishing industry.

Mr Rees-Mogg says the Humber region is seeing a major boost after the Government’s levelling up agenda has been put into action and pointed to the Freeport status granted to the region which include the ports at Hull, Goole, Grimsby and Immingham.

“Freeports are something we couldn’t do under the European Union because they view it as improper state aid but it’s actually it’s about energising areas and sowIng the seed of future economic success.”

Speaking to local business owners he said: “Levelling up is a project which is in hand. You have the Freeport coming and that’s really important because that’s creating at least 7000 jobs.

“That’s bringing people into the area with tax advantages. Things that encourage enterprise and business are what levelling up is all about.

“It’s not about Government expenditure – it’s about letting businesses get on with their job.”

Mr Rees-Mogg also said the area’s freeport status will bring in investment due to certain tax advantages that will make it favourable to be based there.

“Freeports are something we couldn’t do under the European Union because they view it as improper state aid but it’s actually about energising areas and sowing the seed of future economic success” explained the minister.

Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street

Mr Rees-Mogg also suggested that planning regulations in the freeport areas established around the country after Brexit could be relaxed, paving the way for the construction of Canary Wharf-type developments.

Speaking in more detail about his freeport plans he told GB News this week there would also be tax incentives saying:

“There is an argument we should make the whole of the UK a freeport, but perhaps we will have to be a little patient for that!”

“Brexit allows us to do it in a way that we couldn’t possibly do it whilst in the European Union because the EU says it’s state aid and so on and so forth.

“You can do all sorts of things with a freeport. It depends how far you want to go but you can give tax advantages, you can have customs-free areas for the freeports.

“You can have, as they had in the [London] docklands when that was developed, you could have specific planning authorities so that you don’t have to go through cumbersome planning regulations.

“There are all sorts of things you could do with freeports, but it is a fundamental freedom being outside the European Union, and what does it do? It allows enterprise to flourish.

“There is an argument we should make the whole of the UK a freeport, but perhaps we will have to be a little patient for that!”

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