The Government are committed to levelling up opportunity so that all people and places across the UK benefit from economic growth, and covid-19’s impact has made that more important. From the £2 billion new kickstart scheme to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds to the £1 billion for local projects to boost local recovery, we see that the Department will protect jobs, support economic growth and boost productivity across all nations and regions of the UK.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. One of the best tools to level up economic opportunity across the UK after we leave the European Union will be free ports. Does she recognise the strong case for designating Teesport, and will she praise the work of PD Ports and my friend the Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, in preparing a very strong bid?
I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend that free ports will benefit communities across the UK by unleashing the economic potential of our ports, as he will very well know, having been one of my predecessors in this role. I thank him, the Mayor of Tees Valley and my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar (Jacob Young) for their support on this agenda. Our consultation response, published on 7 October, confirms our intent to deliver free ports by 2021, and the free port locations will be selected according to an open, transparent bidding process.