Leading law firm Blake Morgan has partnered with independent think tank Southern Policy Centre (SPC) on an initiative to assess the impacts of and opportunities created by the Solent Freeport for the local business community.
The partnership will develop a report, expected to be published early next year, which will support the work of the Solent Freeport Board by widening awareness and understanding of the benefits brought about by the freeport, supporting local businesses to take advantage and get involved, and promoting wider regional economic opportunities.
As well as research and targeted interviews with local businesses, Blake Morgan and SPC will invite freeport partners and members of the business community to networking and information events. A breakfast meeting this month will be followed by a seminar planned for January 2023. These will allow for topics raised in interviews to be discussed in a wider business forum, with the findings informing the final report.
The Solent Freeport was one of eight sites announced in the Chancellor’s Budget in March 2021, chosen after a consortium of Solent public and private sector partners submitted a proposal designed to create 50,000 jobs and £2bn in investment.
Freeports are intended to be national hubs for global trade and investment across the UK, driving growth through incentivising high-value manufacturing and export. Within freeports, areas designated as ‘tax sites’ and ‘custom sites’ benefit from economic incentives and reduced regulatory constraints. The aim is to promote regeneration and job creation, and to act as a focus for innovation.
Daniel Curtis, partner at Blake Morgan, said:
This latest partnership with Southern Policy Centre is a chance to help the Solent’s local communities reap the benefits of the freeport, while also bringing businesses together and forging new connections. Blake Morgan’s long history in the region means we know the Solent has one of the UK’s most vibrant, creative and innovative economies, and opportunities like this freeport can help us reach our full potential. This report will be a robust analysis of just how best to take advantage of the new avenues opened by the freeport, and impact it can have on the Solent.