Last reviewed 4 March 2021

We reported last year that the Government had set out a proposal to establish 10 Freeports in the UK (see Freeports bidding process opens for applications).

Following the bidding process, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in his March 2021 Budget speech that he was now able to confirm the eight locations in England which had been successful.

These are areas where businesses will benefit from more generous tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and wider government support, he explained, bringing investment, trade and jobs which will regenerate regions across the country that need it most.

The locations chosen are East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth and South Devon, Solent, Teesside and Thames.

Subject to agreeing their governance arrangements and successfully completing their business cases, these Freeports will begin operations before the end of 2021, the Chancellor said.

“Discussions continue between the UK Government and the devolved administrations to ensure the delivery of Freeports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible, he continued.

Subject to legislation, Freeports will benefit from an enhanced 10% rate of Structures and Buildings Allowance for constructing or renovating non-residential structures and buildings within their tax sites.

This means firms’ investments will be fully relieved after 10 years compared with the standard 33 ¹/³ years at the 3% rate available nationwide, the Treasury explained. To qualify, the structure or building must be brought into use on or before 30 September 2026.

There will also be an enhanced capital allowance of 100% for companies investing in plant and machinery for use in Freeport tax sites in Great Britain and full relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of land or property within the sites.

Full Business Rates relief will be available to all new businesses, and certain existing businesses where they expand, in Freeport tax sites in England, until 30 September 2026.

Relief will apply for five years from the point at which each beneficiary first receives relief.