A bid has been submitted to create a freeport for the East of England.
The Freeport East group, made up from businesses and local authorities including New Anglia LEP, is calling on the Government to assign the status to Felixstowe and Harwich.
Freeport status means areas will benefit from tax reliefs and simplified customs procedures in order to encourage economic activity. If freeport status is granted to the area, the bid estimates 13,000 new jobs and 150 apprenticeships could be created, while Freeport East would attract £500m of investment over the next five years.
A decision on the bids is expected in the Spring.
C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia LEP, spoke in support of the bid. She said: “As our region looks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and adjust to the changes following the UK’s exit from the EU, it is vital that major infrastructure projects are supported to deliver the investment and regeneration which will be needed over the coming years.
“We believe that Norfolk and Suffolk, with our significant coastal communities and deprivation, is a prime candidate for support through the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.
“The project would deliver thousands of jobs, fantastic opportunities for our local supply chain and bring long-term economic benefits.
“Freeport status would provide a catalyst for job creation, new economic activity, and additional development in our region. “It would bring new specialised production and manufacturing jobs, as well as logistics, R&D and support service activities, providing immediate job opportunities in emerging and expanding industries.”