Last Friday, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and local authorities submitted a bid to Government for a Solent Freeport.
Freeports generate a number of economic benefits for their local areas in terms of extra investment, new jobs and business growth. The proposal for the Solent region would include both the Ports of Southampton and Portsmouth and Southampton Airport. This combination of seaports and airports makes our bid to Government really exciting and it would also provide a welcome boost for our local airport.
I personally believe a Solent Freeport could be transformational for our area and would offer people new employment opportunities, better paying jobs and allow businesses large and small to grow. We can use this to regenerate our area and make it even better. For this reason, I was very happy to co-ordinate a letter of support to Government from Hampshire MPs. You can read this below.
As a group, we will continue to put pressure on Government to get a Solent Freeport and realise these benefits for our area. In total, the freeport could:
- Create over 26,000 jobs locally and 52,000 jobs nationally.
- Generate £2.0 billion in GVA and over £3.6 billion GVA nationally.
- Transform productivity and level up the Solent workforce productivity to match the UK average by 2025, adding up to £244 million GVA per year.
- Boost the earning potential of our workforce by £20m per year by 2030. This will close the existing wage gap to the South East and UK average while levelling up our regional economy.
- Regenerate our communities and reduce economic deprivation across the Solent. The opportunities created by the freeport will halve the proportion of our communities falling within the 20 per cent most deprived wards in the country, from 16 per cent to 8 per cent by 2030.