Great news today that the Freeport East project at Felixstowe and Harwich has gotten final approval from the Government and will be the 4th freeport fully up and running. The approval comes with up to £25 million in seed funding. We’ve been waiting for final approval since Freeport East was on the initial list of 8 proposed freeports over 1 year ago. I’ve been told the project will now be proceeding at full speed and finally Freeport East can move from being an attractive concept to being something that delivers practical benefits to my constituents.
Freeport East will deliver major benefits to the region, including 13,500 new high-skill, high-paying jobs right on Ipswich’s doorstep. Approximately 6,000 Ipswich residents are already employed either directly or indirectly via the Port of Felixstowe, this go-ahead will provide more opportunities for people in our town. It also creates opportunities for skills training through partnerships with Suffolk New College and the University of Suffolk. Suffolk New College in Ipswich has already received £1 million from the Town Deal to boost skills training and will help deliver hydrogen power for the freeport.
The freeport will also develop into a hub for renewable energy production through its planned Green Hydrogen Hub, and will be supported by existing offshore wind and the planned nuclear plant at Sizewell C. The hub will support high-skilled jobs in the renewable energy sector.
This announcement will really put our local area on the map and help us deliver for the national economy, connecting the North and Midlands to global trade. Felixstowe is already the UK’s busiest container port handling almost half total UK container trade and 60% of our trade with Asia. Giving freeport status to Felixstowe and Harwich is projected to boost UK trade by £12 billion a year, and create £5.5 billion in new gross value added over 10 years.
Also pleased to see the Government make clear in this letter their commitment to the East and that levelling up isn’t just about to the midlands and the north.