Teesside tops freeports investment and jobs tables

Teesside Freeport has attracted more investment and created more jobs than any other in the UK, it has emerged from government figures. Teesside has attracted £1.102bn of the total £2.855bn invested so far in the eight freeports for which figures are available and created 2,150 of the 5,740 jobs at the six freeports for which figures are known.

The Teesside investments consist of £602mn international and £500mn domestic whereas the national totals are largely international – £2,155mn compared with £700mn domestic. Investment at six of the ports is wholly international.  

The figures, which relate to the period December 2021 to November 2023, are contained in a letter from Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove to the House of Commons Business and Trade Select Committee, which is inquiring into  the performance of investment zones and freeports.

Gove calls the investment of almost £2.9bn in the freeports so far, which relates only to projects that are already in the public domain, “remarkable”.

As well as eight freeports in England, there are two in Scotland and one Wales. Gove’s letter refers to investment figures for seven English freeports and jobs figures for five but also, confusingly, to investments and jobs at one Scottish freeport.


Job projections were provided by the freeports when they submitted their bids, and the numbers need to be treated with caution, as Gove warns the committee.:

“The projected job numbers are intended to come to fruition over the next 20 years, recognising that different freeports based their forecasts on their unique strengths and strategies. Since the initial projections, there have been significant changes affecting the programme, including economic challenges and the extension of tax benefits.

“To assess the programme’s progress toward its targets, a robust monitoring and evaluation framework has been established which will closely examine the actual outcomes compared to the forecasts, providing valuable insights into the performance of freeports.

“Despite these dynamic factors, there is already concrete evidence of the freeports initiative delivering on its commitment to job creation. Over 6,000 jobs have been confirmed, and this number is expected to grow substantially as more sites become ready for investment. It is worth noting…that this figure is likely an underestimate, highlighting the positive trend of job opportunities within freeport communities.”

Tees Freeport “not Teesworks”

Following recent controversy over the Teesworks regeneration site, where an independent inquiry found no evidence to support allegations of corruption but did criticise lack of transparency and poor management of public funds, Gove is at pains to point out in his letter to the select committee that Teesside Freeport is not the same as Teesworks. He writes:

“An evident area of interest for the committee was the inquiry into Teesworks and I want to take this opportunity to clarify that the inquiry did not relate to Teesside Freeport, which is a distinct entity. There seems to have been some conflation of the two. To reflect accurately the freeports programme, however, it is important to be clear that:

  1. Unlike Teesworks, Teesside Freeport is not a legally constituted company. It does not own land, does not have shareholders, and is not a for-profit venture;
  2. The inquiry is scrutinising a deal that predates the existence of Teesside Freeport. The change in ownership is also a separate matter falling under the governance of Teesworks, not the Teesside Freeport;
  3. The governance of Teesworks and Teesside Freeport are separate, and the two entities are operationally independent. Decisions relating to Teesside Freeport are taken by the governing body, comprising a wide range of local public and private sector partners, and overseen by Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) as accountable body;
  4. The governance of Teesside Freeport, and the management of all funding for the Freeport (which is paid exclusively to TVCA), are subject to the same comprehensive reporting and assurance requirements as all other freeports”.

Gove adds: “The independent panel’s report [into Teesworks] has now been published and found no evidence of illegality or corruption. Instead, it highlighted the positive economic impact of regeneration, and recommended improving governance and transparency.”

We publish a regular gazette that’s now available free to all our newsletter subscribers. Click on the image to access the Freeports Gazette edition and sign up to our mailing list via the button below!

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button


Get our latest downloads and information first. Complete the form below to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

100% secure your website.