Town hall to decide on bid for Dagenham freeport
- Credit: Ford
The town hall is to decide on whether to back a bid to establish a freeport which could return the River Thames to its "glory days".
Councillors at Barking and Dagenham Council are due to consider the plans to support a Thames Freeport on January 19.
Multinational, DP World, Forth Ports and Ford are bidding for a Thames Freeport, which would see London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury and Ford’s Dagenham facility at its heart.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This proposal offers an outstanding opportunity to bring back the Thames to its glory days.
"It would also be another massive boost for the borough and Dagenham which will soon be home to London’s largest film studios.
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“The future is bright for our borough which has so often led the way in leading Britain out of economic dark times in the past."
The government expects a series of new business and enterprise hubs to create thousands of jobs, regenerate communities and turbocharge Britain’s growth after Brexit.
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Those granted freeport status would benefit from tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and wider government support, boosting economies in industrial heartlands.
A bidding process in England opened in November with a view to establishing at least seven freeports. The first are expected this year, as part of at least 10 across the whole of the UK.
Sea, air and rail ports across England have been encouraged to apply.
Chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said at the time: "Our new freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, levelling up communities across the UK.
"As we embrace our new opportunities as an independent trading nation, we want to deliver lasting prosperity to the British people and freeports will be key to delivering this."
Michael Walton, head of regeneration strategy at Be First, the town hall’s regeneration arm, said: “As part of the bidding process to create the freeport, it is necessary for Barking and Dagenham Council to become an integral part of the bid.
“We think the freeport offers an unrivalled opportunity to secure more and better jobs along with future industries on the Ford site and dovetails with our own ambitions to place Dagenham as a dynamic digital, commercial and industrial European hub.”