Solent Freeport bid is an investment in all our futures, says LEP (updated)

The Solent LEP set out some of the benefits a Freeport in the Solent region would bring if approved later in the year

Paper map showing the solent area

As reported yesterday, the Solent’s ambitious bid for Freeport status has been shortlisted by Government in the 2021 budget.

The Solent LEP believes the proposal has the potential to attract £2billion investment and create 52,000 jobs; through opening the potential to bring tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and streamlined planning processes to promote regeneration and innovation.

A dedicated Solent Freeport Green Growth Institute
Focused on some of the Solent’s most disadvantaged communities, the Freeport will see high quality employment space created, with investment specifically targeted at state-of-the-art growth sectors and ground-breaking approaches to de-carbonisation.

The proposal also includes plans to work with the areas three world-class universities and research assets, and establish a dedicated Solent Freeport Green Growth Institute to provide a centre of excellence in green skills and jobs.

Johnson: Remaining competitive on an international stage
Chair of the Solent LEP, Brian Johnson said,

“The Solent has a very proud maritime heritage, but we don’t live in the past. The announcement represents the start of a new era for the Solent as we begin our work with Government to create jobs, drive innovation and build sustainable, long-term opportunities now and in the future. The wide coalition of public and private partners brought together by the LEP puts us in the strongest possible position to bring this vision for a Solent Freeport to reality.

“As the Nation’s Global Gateway, the Solent Freeport will be critical to ensuring that the UK can remain competitive on an international stage in the years ahead and the LEP is committed to ensuring that our local communities – and in particular our young people – can benefit from the opportunities created.”

Rickman: An investment in all our futures
Councillor Barry Rickman, Solent LEP board member and leader of New Forest District Council said,

“The announcement is fantastic news for the Solent area and our economy. As a coastal area, we have communities that have been very badly impacted by the pandemic and the news represents an opportunity for us to start to recover and create much needed new jobs in those areas. 

“Over the longer-term, we see the Solent Freeport as an investment in all our futures that will enable us to secure investment in new technologies, sectors and environmental innovation. We look forward to working with Government over the coming months to further develop the Solent Freeport for the benefit of our local businesses and communities.”

Article edit
8.20am 8th Mar 2021 – Mention of YouTube video removed as link no longer working

News shared by Hannah on behalf of Solent LEP. Ed

Image: Annie Spratt under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 4th March, 2021 12:44pm



Filed under: Business, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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9 Comments on "Solent Freeport bid is an investment in all our futures, says LEP (updated)"

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They’ve been giving Freeport status since the sixties. every 20 yrs or so they come along as the next big thing in commerce. They make big announcement about how it will cut costs & red tape ,boosting an areas prosperity. Just to find it’s damp squib. Look back and try and find just one single successful UK Freeport.


Ah yes,Money laundering and Tax evasion as an E.C. report on Luxemburg,I think it was,a few years ago.

“We don’t live in the past”? Really? Freeports ARE the past. The last one closed in 2012 as it did not benefit its area and enabled tax evasion. Now being flogged again for political advantage and deflection from the economic damage being brought on by Brexit. Meanwhile a disaster is unfolding for fishermen, farmers, pharmaceuticals, the drinks industry, the clothing industry, musicians, horse racing, and all exporting… Read more »
Steve Goodman

What the LEP says is still far less convincing than what PE says.

For years, Private Eye and others have been documenting the very dodgy downsides of such shenanigans, and reporting on what works best if and when we really want to start ‘investing in our future’.

Angela Hewitt

It all sounds rather vague. As usual saying what they will achieve but not how they are going to achieve it. It’s insulting to use the term Disadvantaged Communities. They use it all the time but nothing ever happens to create a more equal society.


“Nothing ever happens to create a more equal society” except in marginal constituencies, where the Cons are trying to hold on to power. The trouble with the Island is it’s a safe seat. The island needs shaking up to make it far less safe for the Cons. Then we might get the extra funding the Island needs. But a freeport in Hampshire is NOT what we need.

The link to the LEP youtube video did not work, but having tracked it down I can safely say no one has missed much, it is truly dismal. I did, however, find what seems to be a credible explanation of what a freeport is and how it may work. Written by academics it is a good source of information for those interested. I reached no useful conclusion… Read more »
Sally Perry

Looks like the LEP have removed that video (it was there as we watched it), so I have removed reference to it in the article


Let’s hope the freeport is successful, now we’re freed from the shackles of the EU. Perhaps also the long-overdue Dibden Bay port development will soon go ahead and the fiasco that was the 2004 planning enquiry will be overruled.