The Autumn Statement on 22 November 2023 confirmed a five year extension to the end date for the freeport tax reliefs in England to 30 September 2031. Reliefs are available in “special tax sites” (as they were renamed following the 15 March 2023 Budget) for stamp duty land tax, business rates, enhanced structures and buildings allowances, enhanced capital allowances and for National Insurance contributions.
The latest announcement says that for each freeport, the extension is conditional on agreement of delivery plans and will only be legislated once those delivery plans are agreed. That means that although the announcement was intended “to provide greater certainty to investors”, the full implementation of the initiative will be dependent on the ongoing commitment of government, whether the present administration or a future one.
The government also announced an extension for the Investment Zones tax reliefs in England by a further five years to last ten years. It is expected to be legislated in 2024 and so again is dependent on the ongoing commitment of government. HMRC have confirmed to us that the tax reliefs for Investment Zones are expected to be available for ten years, so for Investment Zone tax sites designated in 2024, that will be until 2034.
Earlier in 2023 Blake Morgan released a research report on the ‘Solent Freeport: Opportunities for the Central South’ which looked at the potential benefits of the Solent Freeport for the business community in the region. You can read the full report here.