Welsh Government urged to ‘get serious’ over freeports potential

Preseli MP Stephen Crabb has called on the Welsh Government to ‘get serious’ over the potential benefits of freeports in Pembrokeshire and in other key port communities across Wales. 

Following the UK Government’s Budget, which announced the locations of English freeports were announced, focus has now turned to where freeports could be located in Wales. Any new freeport would require the cooperation of Welsh Government Ministers in Cardiff who, so far, have been slow to capitalise on this economy boosting policy. 

Stephen Crabb has said that Pembrokeshire’s port of Milford Haven would be an ideal candidate for freeport status, helping drive investment and employment in the local area.

Commenting, Stephen Crabb MP said: “The Milford Haven estuary is an ideal location to create a freeport. Given the dynamic mix of industries, skills and opportunities on the Haven, freeport status could be the catalyst needed to boost the local economy as we recover from the pandemic and capitalise on post-Brexit opportunities. 

“Welsh Government now need to get serious about the benefits of freeports and stop intentionally slowing down a policy that would boost economic activity.  

“People want to see collaboration between Governments, not needless hold ups, and I will continue to highlight the Haven as an ideal location for freeport status.”

Crabb added: “With Pembrokeshire being included in the UK Government’s new Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund, now is a perfect opportunity for a joined-up agenda between the County Council, Port Authority, National Park and others, to deliver new projects that can make a difference here in Pembrokeshire.”  

Teesside, which was given freeport status by the UK Government during the Budget, has already seen General Electric announce £20m worth of investment and around 3,000 new jobs in the area since the status was granted. 

(Lead image: Port of Milford Haven)

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