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More than 60,000 jobs and £900m expected to come from Derbyshire freeport deal

todayJuly 10, 2022 21

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More than 60,000 jobs and £900million are expected to be generated within the local economy thanks to a lucrative deal between Derbyshire and neighbouring counties, that will allow freedom of trade movement.

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) has agreed to join Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire county councils as part of the East Midlands Freeport Company, which promises businesses lucrative tax and customs incentives.

The freeport will span three sites located in the centre of the three counties – Ratcliffe Power Station, near Nottingham, East Midlands Airport and East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP), near Derby.

Director of Economy and Regeneration Joe Battye explained to DCC Cabinet members in a meeting on Thursday (July 7) that the airport would be the ‘heart of the freeport’, through which the majority of goods would pass.

She said: “There’s anticipated to be somewhere in the region of 29,000 direct jobs created, so directly employed on site, and expectation of 32,000 indirect jobs, so those are the jobs in the supply chain outside of the site.”

She added that one of the biggest benefits of the freeport would be that rates collected from businesses within it would be retained by the three counties, whereas usually half the sum would be taken by central Government.

“The amount of business rates that are expected to be achieved over a 25-year period of the three properties are £900million,” Ms Battye continued.

She said this money would be reinvested in the freeport in things like highways infrastructure improvements and offsetting some of the carbon impacts of the relocation of businesses into the zone.

Councillor Carol Hart, who represents Breadsall and West Hallam, commented that while she acknowledged there would be an increase in air and road traffic in Erewash due to the proximity of the freeport,  the council had to think about the bigger picture and benefits of the scheme.

Councillor Tony King, who represents Ilkeston West, said a lot of local industries currently rely upon goods brought in from China, Japan and the Continent.

“I think the industries would like an opportunity to shorten the supply chains, bringing investment into their own areas and saving costs as well as carbon footprint,” he said.

Coun King said the 29,000 jobs created directly by the freeport were ‘just the tip of the iceberg’, taking into account the jobs created in the supply chain, as well as the chance to ‘upskill workers’ and provide education opportunities within the area.

“The only complaint I’ve got is it can’t come soon enough, it’s a vital thing for our future,” he concluded.

The freeport is expected to cost around £2million in set up costs, which will be funded with a loan, however the council anticipates paying back the loan easily using the business rates generated by the scheme.

Members voted in favour of becoming a member of the East Midlands Freeport Company and appointed DCC Leader Councillor Barry Lewis as a company director.

Written by: NDR NEWS

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