Teesworks - Teesside Free Port Proposal

The Tees Valley Combined Authority website states that an economic report has predicted that the Teesside Freeport will create over 18,000 skilled, good quality and well-paid jobs over the next five years.

The source of the claim is “A proposal for a national economic free trade policy”, commissioned by Mayor Ben Houchen, which promotes the Tees Valley as a national pilot Free Trade Zone (or Freeport). The projection of a likely 16,000, not 18,000, new jobs, depends on investment, warn the authors, but “accurately forecasting investment is almost impossible”. Each job would incur a “foregone revenue” cost to the Treasury of £12,000.

"The proposal presents two success stories: Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone and Singapore’s Jurong Island. Both depend on migrant labour. At Jurong, workers live 20 to a room with scant ventilation. At Jebel Ali, migrants are denied government benefits or protection and are locked into the lowest tier of society.

The proposal comments on Tees Valley’s advantage as “an area of relatively low income and high unemployment”.

"In the post-Brexit world, the UK will struggle to maintain a competitive edge in EU markets. The easiest way to reduce prices is to cut production costs and that is usually done by cutting wages. Is the Teesside Freeports plan a blueprint for a local sweatshop economy?

"The Coalition Government abandoned the idea for the UK’s existing Freeports in 2012, renaming them “Enterprise Zones”.

"In a 2019 report, the EU urged member states to give up their Freeports as they brought little or no economic benefit and were being used for money laundering, tax evasion and smuggling including valuable artworks, in a low policing environment."

After putting out a bidding process the Teesside Freeport was agreed to be funded - Teesside Freeport Website.