Lucy Winskell, chair of the North East LEP
Chloe Shakesby

North East LEP to submit Free Trade Zone bid to drive local economy

A North East organisation has announced that it is submitting a bid to drive forward the local economy.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has confirmed that it is preparing a collaborative Free Trade Zone bid along with a range of partners.

The bid is designed to protect and enhance trade and investment potential and regenerate key sites, and has been created in response to the government’s Free Ports bidding prospectus.

Partners of the bid include Port of Blyth, Port of Sunderland, Port of Tyne, Newcastle International Airport, North East and North of Tyne Combined Authorities, Business Durham, the CBI, the North East England Chamber of Commerce, University of Sunderland, Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, The Offshore Energy Catapult and NEXUS.

Lucy Winskell, chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), commented: “Freeports offer the potential to generate new employment, revitalise our coastal areas and significantly boost the local economy.

“Over the past few months, we have been working very closely with a range of partners to prepare the ground for a collaborative bid which underlines the ambition and determination of the region to succeed.

“A North East Free Trade Zone bid will give us the opportunity to build on our industrial and logistics assets, support our supply chains and clusters and demonstrate our range of digital and innovation capabilities.

“The government is committed to levelling up the UK economy with a focus on strengthening the economies of key industrial heartlands, such as the North East. This proposal will shore up some of our most disadvantaged communities.

“The region is working together to seize this opportunity to show why we are deserving of Freeport status and how it will strengthen our position on the national and international stage.”

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