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The Liverpool City Region Freeport

In the March 2021 budget, the chancellor announced Liverpool as one of the 8 key Freeport areas in the UK.

It is estimated that the creation of a multi-gateway, multi-modal Freeport will contribute around £850m GVA, create 14,000 jobs. It will enable key sites across the Liverpool City Region to attract new investment and increase levels of innovation.

The Freeport extends much further than just the Port of Liverpool, it in fact covers 45km diameter across the Merseyside Region from Wirral Waters in the west to Port Salford in the East and as far south as Widnes and Runcorn.

We are currently working with a number of clients in the inward and outward international logistics sectors who see the Freeport as a huge benefit to their business, particularly post-Brexit. Imports can enter freeport customs zones with simplified customs procedures and do not have payable tariffs.

Businesses operating within these designated areas can take advantage from the deferment of tariffs until their products are moved to another part of the country. They could even avoid tariffs altogether if they bring in goods to manufacture on site before exporting them again to an international market. Pleasingly we are now starting to see reputable key logistics companies setting up as customs sites in the region, allowing their customers without the resources available to do this themselves, to enjoy the benefits of the Freeport too.

Something which has perhaps slipped under the radar are the three Tax Zones formed in conjunction with the Freeport. The Tax Zones are in three key locations only and not the entirety of the Freeport Zone, these are Wirral Waters around Birkenhead Docks, Parkside St Helens and 3MG Widnes. Here the Liverpool City Region have joined up with developers to build an array of industrial and commercial property with not only customs advantages, but also some exceptional tax benefits including enhanced capital allowances, stamp duty and other buildings and land reliefs, employer national insurance contributions relief and business rate relief.

In addition to these zones, during the latest budget, the government reiterated plans to create a dozen new investment zones that could become “12 potential Canary Wharfs”. Areas included the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Teesside have been identified as possible hosts, and they will need to develop proposals centred on universities or research institutes. Successful applicants will be given £80m of support as well and allowed to retain some local taxes.