Developing Consensus has joined a consortium of 44 businesses and organisations to show support for the North East England Freeport bid, signing a letter of universal support to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. Below is a full copy of the letter together with the organisations endorsing the bid.

Dear Chancellor,

We are writing to you to express our full support for the North East England Freeport bid submitted on 5 February. We believe this bid has transformational potential which more than meets the Government’s vision for the Freeports programme.

Our Freeport proposal will support export-focused growth to the tune of £2.1bn.  It will drive innovation, boost trade and deliver growth in our world-leading clean energy, advanced manufacturing and automotive clusters, in turn creating new opportunities for our digital sector and wider innovation community. It will stimulate new investment and accessible employment in some of the most deprived communities in our region.

The North East England Freeport will provide a unique ‘levelling-up’ opportunity, creating over 60,000 jobs across the North East, with over 30,000 on the new Freeport sites and 30,000 construction jobs regionally.

A number of North East England Freeport sites are located in some of the region’s most deprived areas, still scarred from previous industrial change.  The Freeport will re- ignite these communities, stimulating £2.7bn private and public sector investment, creating new green jobs and employability programmes to ensure these jobs are accessible to local people. Of these new roles, 13,000 will be in higher skilled ‘better’ jobs.

Innovation, renewable energy and green technology are at the heart of the bid. A digitally-enabled customs solution will facilitate the movement of goods between the Freeport sites and, along with other measures, will reduce the risk of displacement that would be created by a single site proposition.

Freeport partners are committed to decarbonisation and the North East England Freeport aims to be a Net Zero Freeport by 2030.

The possibility of having a Freeport in the area has already attracted interest from Britishvolt to establish the world’s greenest battery making facility in Northumberland and create 8,000 jobs.  The Freeport would house the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), a nationally significant infrastructure project bringing together Sunderland and South Tyneside, adjacent to Nissan.  This complements Nissan’s plans for its car plant and is key to electrification and localisation of the company’s supply chain.

The Freeport would also house three ports. Blyth and Tyne are at the forefront of the offshore and floating wind revolution. Both are home to a growing manufacturing and O&M cluster, supporting the largest offshore wind farms in the world, like Dogger Bank, off the east coast.

This bid creates an opportunity to integrate Port of Sunderland into this sector and would facilitate new investment at other key export-focused sites across the region, including strengthening freight activity at Newcastle International Airport as part of our regional trade and export strategy.

Cross-party MPs have supported this proposal, we fully back this bid and are asking you, as Chancellor, to back our region through the creation of a North East England Freeport.

Give the North East a freeport and together, we will realise its full economic potential through investment, trade and jobs.