Gravity ask’s Ian Liddell-Grainger. MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset his views on what a Freeport would mean to Bristol and the UK economy.
Can the Great Western Freeport– Bristol Succeed?
Of course it can. Boris Johnson spotted the potential 14 months ago when he described Bristol as a “strong contender” to become a free port. In my view, it is the strongest candidate. The UK now needs brand new global trade hubs to serve markets right across the world. Brexit has forced the pace to create them and you cannot get a better location than here! Bristol Port has been crucial to connecting our island with the rest of the world ever since the Romans were here. We are strategically placed on US and Asian trade routes and supported by a region blessed with top universities, amazing opportunities for training and a culture of business innovation. We have ‘shovel ready’ sites like Gravity within the freeport offer, primed for international investment and ready to create new jobs. We are raring to go!
What would the free port mean to Bristol and the wider South West region
The Prime Minister wants to ‘level-up’ Britain. Not just in the North. There is huge potential in the South West. We have all the ingredients to be a global leader in high-value design, innovation, hosting and advanced manufacturing. We can build lasting job opportunities, pioneer vital training and improve the life chances of everyone involved in the South West. Freeport status would be more than a shot in the arm – the potential is enormous. The best estimates say it could create 48,500 jobs in the region and £4.1bn GVA each year. In the long run this Freeport should boost the UK economy to the tune of £6.2bn GVA and 88,700 jobs.
What would you urge the Government to do?
Take the plunge. What an amazing opportunity! There’s Bristol Port itself, linked to key strategic sites like Gravity, with second-to-none academic institutions plus all the industrial assets of the South West – we really are ready to deliver England a phenomenal free port. We can prove our capability, our highly skilled workforce, our ideal infrastructure, and a genuine appetite to hit the ground running and make it all succeed If we make the right decisions and invest in areas which are ready, resourceful and renowned for delivering success then Britain will never go wrong.