Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas backs Thames Freeport bid

Jon Cruddas

Jon Cruddas is backing a bid for a Thames Freeport which if successful could benefit from tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and wider government support. - Credit: Pawel Szewczyk

I want to put on record my support for the Thames Freeport which has become a contentious issue in the borough over recent weeks.

The council voted in favour of the plans and I have been liaising with Ford and businesses throughout the Thames estuary on this issue.

We are looking to bring thousands of jobs and billions of new investment into the community.

The freeport will act as catalyst for green growth in London with Dagenham at its centre.

Ford’s impressive plans to bring a freeport to their historic Dagenham site will encourage a greater use of the river for intra-port movements and will completely reshape urban logistics by removing HGVs from our roads – particularly along the A13.

It will also hopefully transition the Ford plant toward electrical vehicles and ensure a future after the demise of the combustion engine.

The concerns around tax evasion of large companies and the role freeports can play in laundering money are valid points.

However, the delivery partners of the Thames Freeport, DP World, Forth Ports and the PLA have all made a commitment through an industry-wide charter to uphold the highest employment, environmental and social standards throughout the operation of the Thames Freeport.

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We will be holding them to account.

Due to the pandemic, we are currently facing the types of mass unemployment last experienced in the 1980s which scarred a generation and this move will stimulate the local economy by boosting jobs and innovation.

This investment will work hand-in-hand with London’s three wholesale markets due to be relocated at Dagenham Dock in the coming years, and when coupled with other exciting projects such as the film studios it is fair to say we are putting Dagenham back on the map – ensuring many thousands of good jobs are once again Made in Dagenham and available for local people.