Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, has thrown his full support behind Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s (CLEP)-led bid for Cumbria to secure one of the 10 new Freeports that government has committed to creating across the UK.
Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP), working with a wide range of partners, has submitted its bid for Cumbria to become one of the 10 new Freeports that government has committed to create across the UK.
The Heart of the UK Freeport Cumbria bid has been developed in partnership with three operators - Barrow Port, Carlisle Lake District Airport and the Port of Workington – and four Local Authorities - Allerdale Borough Council, Barrow Borough Council, Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council - making it a both multi-modal and multi-centre freeport.
Freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, levelling up communities across the UK, creating new jobs, and turbo-charging our economic recovery.
Freeports are designated by Government and are areas where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. These can be airports as well as maritime ports.
The Heart of the UK Freeport looks to create greater economic benefits, jobs and supply chain opportunities from Cumbria’s existing global strengths in advanced manufacturing and clean energy generation.
Cumbria’s Freeport proposal provides a distinctive and attractive offer, being a multi-centre and multi-modal proposal, which sits at the heart of the UK, sharing a land border with Scotland and sea borders with both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Freeport bids will be assessed by a MHCLG chaired assessment panel in March 2021, with decisions made in Spring.
Commenting on the bid Dr Neil Hudson said:
“The Heart of the UK Freeport Cumbria bid is an exciting prospect and I am delighted to give my full my support to the application.
“The potential benefits to the whole of Cumbria are plain to see and, given the proximity of Penrith and the Eden district to Carlisle Lake District Airport in my constituency, this exciting proposal can reap economic benefits across the Borderlands region and up and down the M6 corridor. This bid has strong cross-party support and the support of key stakeholders and if successful will be a real boost to the future of Carlisle Airport.”
Lord Inglewood, Chair of CLEP, said:
“I am delighted to confirm that Cumbria LEP has submitted its Heart of the UK Freeport Cumbria bid to government. This has been developed in strong partnership with the relevant operators and local authorities, as everybody recognises the important role that the Freeport could play in economy recovery and growth.
“The bid is focused on Cumbria’s unique location, literally at the heart of the UK and therefore crucial to UK connectivity. Our bid is novel and imaginative as it looks to tailor the benefits of a Freeport in a polycentric, rural and dispersed area rather than an urban, concentrated geography. It is also built on our existing global strengths and is therefore ambitious, as well as being realistic and deliverable.
John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, said:
“These are exciting times for both Carlisle and Cumbria as a whole. The Heart of the UK Freeport Cumbria bid would complement the development of St Cuthbert’s Garden Village to the south of Carlisle and the construction of the Carlisle Southern Link Road.
“As well as providing further economic stimulus to the Carlisle Lake District Airport, it would play its role in further strengthening connections between the city and the wider county.”
Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “Cumbria County Council is owner of the Port of Workington as well as the Local Transport Authority and would be the accountable body for a successful bid.
“I’m therefore very pleased and encouraged by the speed at which we’ve been able to work together with other relevant bodies to produce this ambitious proposal. The potential for Cumbria is plain to see and I hope that Government will recognise the imaginative nature of the bid, linking three key transport hubs, and give it its backing.”
Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council, said: “The bid represents an exciting opportunity to link three of the county’s premier transport hubs to provide a comprehensive offer that is big enough to enable economies of scale and significantly improve competitiveness.”