Michael Gove – 2023 Statement on Freeports in Wales

The statement made by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the House of Commons on 23 March 2023.

Today the UK and Welsh Governments have jointly announced that there will be two new Freeports in Wales: Celtic Freeport and Anglesey Freeport.

This is an important moment for people across Wales. Freeport status will support the creation of high skilled jobs, drive growth and level up parts of our great country that have been previously overlooked. Each freeport, subject to business case, will be backed by up to £26 million in UK Government funding, and a range of tax incentives, including locally retained business rates to upgrade local infrastructure and stimulate regeneration. This is alongside a generous package of trade and innovation support for businesses locating there.

These two new freeports will unlock significant funding for Wales, helping to boost the economy and ensuring the benefits are felt from Anglesey to Port Talbot and Milford Haven. They will help to create tens of thousands of new jobs, boost business, and unleash potentially billions of pounds of investment in the local areas and beyond. The strong bids from the Celtic and Anglesey sites compellingly demonstrated how they will use freeport status to regenerate their local communities, establish hubs for global trade, and foster an innovative environment.

Freeports are at the vanguard of levelling up: driving growth and bringing opportunity and prosperity to the communities that surround them. The new freeports in Wales will build on the UK Government’s successful freeport programme in England, where all eight freeports are open for business, and in Scotland where two new green freeports have recently been announced.

The Government remain committed to ensuring that the whole of the UK can reap the benefits of our freeports programme. As well as freeports being set up in England, Scotland and Wales, we also continue discussions with stakeholders in Northern Ireland about how best to deliver the benefits associated with freeports there.