Skip to main content


Question for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

UIN HL1984, tabled on 13 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide more clarity surrounding freeports and how they will be (1) operated, and (2) governed.

Answered on

27 July 2021

The Freeport model will provide a wide package of tax reliefs and simplified customs procedures. HMT and HMRC are working with Freeports to review and confirm the boundaries of their proposed tax sites, prior to approval and commencement of tax measures. Operators of customs sites will need to obtain authorisation for their customs sites and will be responsible for ensuring goods on site follow the correct customs processes. The Government is actively working with the Freeports to support delivery of the policy and subject to confirming their governance arrangements and business case approval, the first are planned to open for business in late 2021.

Each Freeport was asked to set out in the bid proposals their preferred governance structure. The Government is open to any degree of formality and legal structure providing the proposals meet the criteria and core standards on governance set out in the Bidding Prospectus. The Government is assessing the proposals and will work with the Freeports to ensure that governance is robust. The relevant public body (Local Authority or Authorities or Mayoral Combined Authority) of the Freeport Governance Body will be accountable to MHCLG for the expenditure and management of public money.

The Freeport Governance Body will be responsible for the effective delivery of the Freeport according to the economic strategy determined through the bidding process and the Freeport Governance Body will work with Government to ensure the Freeport stays aligned with national policy and delivers on its monitoring and evaluation commitments.

Business cases from each Freeport will give further information on how their proposals will be delivered. The business cases will need to be approved by Government before seed funding can be released and they become operational.