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Anglesey Freeport: North Wales Economy

Volume 742: debated on Tuesday 19 December 2023

2. What recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of Anglesey freeport on the economy in North Wales. (900733)

Merry Christmas, Mr Speaker. Today is the funeral of former Chancellor Lord Darling, and if I may, I will make some comments about that in my topicals statement. Anglesey freeport will be a national and international hub for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities by attracting new business, and spreading jobs, investment and opportunity.

Nadolig llawen pawb. I was delighted that the Chancellor extended freeport tax reliefs in England in his autumn statement. Does he agree that if those extensions are realised in Wales, it will give companies the confidence to invest and help deliver the £1 billion investment, and thousands of jobs forecast for our Anglesey freeport? Will he join me in thanking all those at the Isle of Anglesey County Council and Stena Line who worked so hard recently to submit the outline business case?

I am happy to join my hon. Friend in thanking all those involved in promoting the Anglesey freeport, which we think may create 5,500 jobs. We are working closely with the Welsh Government to agree on how the 10-year window to claim reliefs can be extended across freeports in Wales. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend, who has done more than anyone to put Ynys Môn on the map.

Thank you very much for doing the funnies, Mr Speaker.

Freeports can certainly be a catalyst of economic growth and prosperity in north Wales and the east midlands, but they must be in the right place. Putting a freeport in North West Leicestershire, which already enjoys some of the highest economic growth in the country, has low unemployment, and is capable of filling its industrial sites without incentives, makes little sense. Will the Chancellor agree to meet me to discuss better alternatives for the east midlands than the Diseworth freeport site?

I would be happy to ask one of my colleagues to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss why freeports are not appropriate in his part of Leicestershire.