Last week International Trade Secretary Liz Truss MP made an exciting announcement regarding Freeports. She announced a Freeports Advisory Panel so that post-Brexit, we can turbocharge growth and ensure that towns and cities across the UK can benefit from new trading opportunities.
Freeports are zones which have reduced the costs, paperwork and checks when trading. Because of their reduced regulations and bureaucracy, more businesses are encouraged to set up or move to Freeports – meaning they become hubs for enterprise. Ports and airports across the UK will be invited to bid to become one of up to ten Freeports. They will ensure that Britain’s port cities and airports are ready to take full advantage of post-Brexit opportunities, including increased trade. Because we can strike new trade deals, leaving the EU on 31 October will enable us to introduce Freeports to drive growth and create thousands of high-skilled jobs in regions that have not seen the investment they should have had.
Why is this so important in Morecambe and Lunesdale? Well we have been having discussions about Heysham being a candidate for a Freeport for some time now with Peel, Seatruck and the Chamber of Commerce and there is a really strong team locally who recognise the economic benefits that this will bring to the area.
I will be working with the teams at the Port and the Chamber of Commerce to both support their application but also to lobby Government once their application has been submitted to ensure that we get our Freeport in Heysham. Heysham Port brings in a great deal of trade not just to Heysham but contributes a large amount to the GDP of the whole North West. Securing a Freeport will only spearhead the economic benefits we get from the Port even further. My main purpose as your Member of Parliament is to drive prosperity through the area and projects such as these are vitally important to our future. We need to make sure that we drive forward with investment in our area. The Link Road has been a catalyst for many opportunities that would not be possible without it being built and we must make sure we grasp all of these opportunity’s and capitalise on them . One thing the road has taught me is knowing how to effectively lobby for Government investment. With a strong application from the Port team I am confident that this opportunity can come to Morecambe.
The Chancellor has announced £2.1 billion to turbocharge no deal preparations to ensure we are ready to leave on 31 October with or without a deal. We have doubled Brexit funding for this year, with £1.1 billion being provided to departments and the devolved administrations immediately and a further £1 billion made available, should it be needed. The money will be used for border and customs operations, critical medical supplies, support for UK nationals abroad, and an awareness campaign to ensure the public and businesses are ready to leave the EU on 31 October. In total, we have now made available £6.3 billion to prepare for Brexit, including £4.2 billion this financial year alone.
We want a new deal – one that abolishes the backstop. Unfortunately, the EU have so far refused to consider making any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement; we hope they change their mind. If they do not, we will leave the EU without an agreement on 31 October, and this additional £2.1 billion will ensure we are ready.
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