Free Trade Zones take many forms around the world. Liverpool City Region (LCR) Freeport is one of only eight economic zones across England that were specially designated by the UK government in 2021 as 'Freeports', where a range of tax incentives and customs benefits apply.
The UK government's Freeport Model is designed to deliver three objectives:
- To establish Freeports as national hubs for global trade and investment.
- To create hotbeds for innovation by focusing on private and public sector investment in research and development.
- To promote regeneration through the creation of high-skilled jobs in ports linked to the areas around them, ensuring sustainable economic growth.
Freeport 'tax sites' offer occupiers business rates relief and other incentives to support capital investment, skills and employment. Business rates generated at the tax sites will also be retained locally for 25 years for reinvestment in the local area.
Freeport 'customs sites' will help enable the tariff-free movement of goods for both export and import through simplified customs procedures.
Liverpool City Region
Liverpool City Region Freeport is designed as a low carbon, multi-modal, multi-gateway trade platform with a network of sites attracting high value investment, supporting growth and employment to regenerate communities through industry, innovation, and collaboration.
Centred on a mix of infrastructure, which includes the deep-water container terminal at the Port of Liverpool – the UK's biggest western facing port, handling 45% of trade from the US – together with multiple rail heads, other water-based access, and an airport, it is the key coastal access point to the UK's largest concentration of manufacturing.
Targeting key sectors including automotive, biomanufacturing/pharmaceuticals and maritime, LCR Freeport will also support advanced manufacturing, logistics and energy. There is a large pool of human resources already working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles, plus a large graduate and student pool of talent.
Freeport Tax reliefs
Eligible businesses will enjoy a range of tax reliefs to incentivise new investment within the boundaries of a Freeport tax site, including:
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) relief
- Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in plant and machinery
- Enhanced Structures and Building Allowance
- Business Rates relief for five years
- Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) relief
- Deferrals and exemptions from duty
- Supportive local planning environments with constructive public-private partnerships
Sovereign Corporate & Trustees Services (SCATS) in Chester
SCATS is highly experienced in helping overseas companies to establish in the UK and the LCR Freeport is on our doorstep. Our Chester office has established strong links with the LCR Combined Authority, which is responsible for the LCR Freeport. This means that we can make all the introductions needed by your business, whilst also looking after all your UK company incorporation and administration needs.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.