Project creating tens of thousands of new East Midlands jobs gets £150 million boost

16th January 2024


A plan to bring tens of thousands of new jobs to the East Midlands has received a £150 million funding boost in a move set to bring more international businesses to the region. The East Midlands is one of just eight areas across England that the Government has chosen to host a freeport, with the project estimated to bring in hundreds of millions of pounds to the region in the coming decades.

The aim is that this money will be re-invested to tackle the “pockets of deprivation” that exist in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Having become operational in March, the East Midlands Freeport is already witnessing overseas businesses choosing to base themselves in the region and £25 million has already been secured for the project from the Government.

But a new £150 million fund has now been created to boost the freeports and investment zones being created across the country. Minister for Levelling Up Jacob Young said: “We are already seeing the vast and undeniable opportunities that freeports are bringing, having brought in almost £3 billion of investment, which will create thousands of long-term jobs in sectors of the future. “Our action plan… will maximise the potential of these communities to become centres of innovation and investment, with clear delivery timeframes to ensure rapid progress. Our goal is to improve lives for local people in areas historically overlooked and freeports are helping us achieve that.”

A freeport is a defined geographical area containing sites which can offer businesses major tax discounts compared to what they would normally be charged. The aim is to attract new investors into the UK and for high-quality jobs to follow, with the Freeport team already in constant dialogue with overseas businesses about basing themselves here.

The East Midlands Freeport zone, the only inland freeport in the UK, contains three tax sites which are fixed and set out in law. They include its primary port at the East Midlands Airport and Gateway Cluster, land at Ratcliffe-on-Soar around the soon-to-be closed power station and the East Midlands Intermodal Park in Derbyshire, near Toyota’s major manufacturing plant.

Support given to companies who base themselves at these three sites will include relief from any business rates for five years, relief from having to pay National Insurance contributions for three years and no stamp duty being charged on the purchase of any land or property within the sites. Activity has already included parts of the SEGRO Logistics Park near the East Midlands Airport, a 700-acre development of logistics accommodation that gives businesses ranging from Amazon to DHL direct access to a rail freight terminal.

As well as announcing the £150 million fund, the Government also says that the business rates relief companies are able to claim at freeports is being extended from five years to ten. Infrastructure around freeport sites will be upgraded and joint partnerships will be established with local colleges and job centres.

Tom Newman-Taylor, the CEO of the East Midlands Freeport, spoke previously about the need for more Government support on the project by saying: “It is absolutely true that the East Midlands has received less than its fair share when it comes to Government investment. Part of what we try to do, working with regional partners, it to shout as loudly as possible back into Government to say that in order to make this work, we need the investment.”




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