Solent freeport

Getting Southampton’s Investment Moving - Solent Freeport

In the March 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Solent Freeport bid is one of eight shortlisted by the government. Southampton City Council is supporting the bid, which has been calculated as having the potential to attract £2billion investment and create 52,000 jobs – about half of them locally. Find out what happens next and why we’re backing the bid.

What’s next?

Summer 2021

  • Business Case developed and submitted for MHCLG and HM Treasury approval
  • Tax and customs sites to be agreed with and authorised by HM Treasury, HMRC, and Border Force

Late 2021/Early 2022

  • Freeports to begin operations

What are Freeports?

Freeports are areas designated by the government where normal tax and customs rules are relaxed or do not apply.

Within the freeport area, businesses have to pay little or no tax on imported and exported goods – and there are often additional incentives to encourage economic activity. While located geographically within a country, they essentially exist outside its borders for tax and customs purposes.

What’s in it for Southampton?

  • Being part of a Freeport will attract a lot of investment to Southampton. Analysis suggests it could act as a magnet for an estimated £2 billion of extra investment, including £1.4 billion from the private sector.
  • It promises to create over 26,000 new jobs in the Solent area.
  • It will support our innovative green industries, encouraging growth in the hydrogen economy, wind turbine manufacturing and ultra-low-sulphur diesel.
  • It will secure continued investment in our port and related infrastructure.

If you are a business and interested in the opportunities the Freeport will open up, please register with Solent FreePort.

Map showing the area covered by Solent Freeport. Key locations are the waterside cluster in Southampton, Southampton airport and Portsmouth.