Chancellor announces setting up of Freeport in North West Leicestershire - here's how Budget affects Ashby residents and businesses

By Graham Hill

3rd Mar 2021 | Local News

East Midlands Airport will be the site of a Freeport
East Midlands Airport will be the site of a Freeport

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced the setting up of a Freeport based at East Midlands Airport - which could bring 60,000 new jobs to the area.

It is one of eight new sites in the UK which was revealed his budget in the House of Commons.

MP Andrew Bridgen tweeted: "Excellent news for North West Leicestershire and the wider region."

Freeports are usually located around shipping ports or airports. Goods that arrive into freeports from abroad are not subject to the tax charges, called tariffs, that are normally paid to the government.

These taxes only become payable when the goods leave the freeport and are moved somewhere else in the UK.

Otherwise, they are sent overseas without the charges being paid.

Freeports are allowed within the European Union, and the UK had seven at various points between 1984 and 2012.

Airport managing director, Claire James, told BBC East Midlands that the news will "shine a spotlight on a part of the country which has so much to offer investors, existing businesses that wish to grow, and the supply chains that are linked to them".

She added the airport will play "a significant role in the government's ambitions for a 'global Britain'".

Maria Machancoses, director of Midlands Connect, called it "fantastic news" and said they would work with local authorities to make sure the site is well connected to trade locally, nationally and internationally.

The Chancellor's budget aims to provide support during what will hopefully be the final stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He spoke of how Coronavirus has 'fundamentally changed our lives' and promised to do 'whatever it takes' to help the economy.

The economy should return to pre-COVID levels by mid-2022 according to the Office of Budget Responsibility.

Here are the key points of the budget for you and your business:

The economy is expected to grow four per cent this year.


The furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September.

There will be no change to terms for employees but businesses will be asked to contribute when they reopen - but not until July.

This contribution will be 10 per cent in July and then 20 per cent in August and September


Self-employed people will be provided with two extra grants until September.

The grants will be targeted over the summer with those making up their losses receiving less from the government.

Over 600,000 more people can now claim these grants according to the Chancellor.

Low-income households

The Universal Credit increase will stay in place for the next six months.

The national living wage will be increased to £8.91.

The chancellor is doubling incentive payments for businesses who hire apprentices to £3,000.


Restart grants will be given in April to reopening business - £6,000 will be given to non-essential retail per premises while hospitality will receive an £18,000 grant due to them opening a month later.

Arts, culture and sports will be given £700 million and a 2030 World Cup Bid from the UK and Ireland will be backed by the government.

A new recovery loan scheme will also be offered to business - the figures range between £25,000 and £10 million.

The 100 per cent business rates holiday will continue until June, then reduced to 66 percent until next year.

The five percent reduced VAT rate for hospitality will be extended to September.


The stamp duty holiday will continue to June and then properties up to £250,000 until September.

Governments will guarantee 95 per cent mortgages to lenders.

Fixing Public Finances

The rate of income tax, national insurance and VAT will not be raised.

However tax thresholds will no longer increase with inflation.

Corporation tax will be increased in 2023 to 25 per cent.


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