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Freeports in the UK

Explore new opportunities to invest, trade and innovate across the UK.

Freeports are new hubs for global trade, investment, and innovation within the UK that create a favourable environment and exciting opportunities for businesses to grow. By choosing to invest within a UK Freeport, you could access a wide range of customs and tax benefits, as well as support from government around planning, infrastructure and innovation.

UK Freeports bring together industry, government and educational institutions, enabling you to collaborate with like-minded companies within a supportive environment for developing and trialling new ideas and technologies. Freeports offer direct access to relevant regulators through the Freeport Regulation Engagement Network.

Take advantage of Freeport incentives

Twelve UK Freeports have been announced to date, with consistent benefits across the 8 Freeports in England, 2 Freeports in Wales and 2 Green Freeports in Scotland.

As areas offering special, business-friendly economic regulations, Freeports could help you achieve your goals and save time and money through:

Tax reliefs

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax relief (or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax relief in Scotland or Land Transaction Tax relief in Wales)
  • enhanced capital allowances for investment in plant & machinery and structures & buildings
  • five years of business rates relief (or non-domestic rates relief in Scotland and Wales)
  • Employer National Insurance contributions relief

Customs and planning

  • simplified customs procedure
  • deferrals and exemptions from duty payments
  • VAT suspension within customs sites
  • supportive local planning environments with constructive public-private partnerships

Innovation offer

  • extensive public investment in skills and infrastructure
  • access to the Freeport Regulation Engagement Network (FREN), enabling direct and early engagement between businesses, Freeports, and regulators
  • access to the Freeport Innovation Network (FIN), a collaboration vehicle for Freeports to shape and organise their innovation activity as a collective

Learn more about UK Freeports

The UK Government are working to establish Freeports across the whole of the UK. Each Freeport builds on regional sector strengths, key infrastructure, and the connectivity of the ports they encompass to offer unique investment and trade opportunities. Find out more at the links below.

Freeports in England

Green Freeports in Scotland

Freeports in Wales

Benefit from a range of reliefs on Freeport tax sites

There are a host of tax benefits that you could take advantage of by locating in carefully selected, high potential tax sites within a Freeport. These have been prioritised for development by landowners and local and national government. View the locations of the tax sites in Freeports on GOV.UK.

In November 2023, the UK government announced that, subject to each Freeport’s delivery plan, the duration of tax reliefs in English Freeports will be extended from 5 to 10 years, with benefits claimable until September 2031. The UK government will work with the Scottish and Welsh governments with the intention of delivering an equivalent extension in Scotland and Wales.

Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Land Transaction Tax relief

Freeport tax sites offer up to total relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax (in England), Land Transaction Tax (in Wales) or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (in Scotland) on land and property to be used for qualifying commercial purposes. In England, for example, locating within a Freeport would save purchasers buying non-residential land and buildings from Stamp Duty Land Tax of 0% tax on the first £150,000, 2% on the next £100,000 and 5% on the remaining amount.

Business rates relief

There is full, 100% relief from business rates (or non-domestic rates in Scotland and Wales) on qualifying new properties and partial relief for expanded properties in Freeport tax sites. This relief applies for 5 years from the point at which you receive it.

National Insurance contributions relief

Freeports offer 0% employer National Insurance contributions paid on salary up to £25,000 per annum, applicable for 3 years per eligible employee hired before the tax relief deadline. Employees must be new hires and spend more than 60% of their working time in the Freeport to be eligible.

Enhanced capital allowance

Freeports provide 100% first-year allowances for qualifying expenditure on plant and machinery which is primarily for use in a Freeport tax site.

This significantly accelerates tax relief for companies for their qualifying expenditure on key plant and machinery.

Structures and building allowance

Freeports offer an enhanced rate of structures and buildings allowance of 10% per annum compared to 3% outside Freeport tax sites. This is available for qualifying expenditure on non-residential structures and buildings where construction commences from the date a tax site is designated.

This significantly accelerates tax relief for businesses for their qualifying expenditure on constructing, renovating or adapting premises to suit your chosen Freeport location.

Make use of a flexible new customs procedure on Freeport customs sites

Secure customs sites within Freeports enable businesses to benefit from a flexible new customs procedure, which allows imports to enter the sites with simplified customs documentation and the payment of tariffs to be delayed or avoided. Businesses within a Freeport area can apply to HMRC to be authorised to operate a customs site or can locate within an existing customs site within the Freeport.

Tariff benefits

You can bring goods into a Freeport customs site and defer the payment of import duties until the goods enter the UK market.

If the goods are components and converted to outputs within the customs site, you can also choose to pay import duty on the component or the output (whichever is lower) when the goods enter the UK market.

You can also benefit from duty exemptions for goods that are imported into and then re-exported from a Freeport customs site.

Non-tariff benefits

Freeport sites provide simplified import procedures. This provides an expansion on existing customs facilitations and procedures available, allowing you to save time and money.

VAT benefits

Freeports offer a VAT suspension until the goods leave the tax site and enter into free circulation in the UK. This allows you more efficient management of your operational capital.

Expand your business in the UK

Get practical guidance and insights to help you successfully set up in the UK.