Boosting West Lancashire?

Apparently the creation of a Freeport in the Liverpool City Region could boost jobs and investment in West Lancashire. That’s the view of Cllr Ian Moran, leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, who says the close links between the area and the city region will bring strong benefits under the new rules.

Picture from Colin Lane. Liverpool HAD a Freeport from the 1980s until 2012 when the Tory party ended it. Boris Johnson claimed the EU is stopping the UK from having free ports, but was he just avoiding an argument by lying? According to the Commons Library in 2018 free ports are allowed in the EU as there were 83 at the time. Until 2012, the Port of Liverpool was the largest Freeport in the UK 

The new Freeport status was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and means that the city region, which comprises Liverpool, Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral, will not be placed under the usual tax and tariff rules.

This makes it easier and cheaper to do business which can strengthen global trade, inward investment and innovation. The bid would be built on the city region’s maritime history and position as a western-facing port. Although not a full member, West Lancashire is an associate member of the LCR and submitted its support to the Freeport proposal.

Cllr Moran said “This is a major opportunity for our local economy. We have close links with the Liverpool City Region and are delighted its status as a major player in the country’s economy has rightly been recognised by the Chancellor.

“Being so close to the motorway network, West Lancashire is ideally placed to offer strong and useful links to the Port of Liverpool and the rest of the country. This new Freeport status will help cut red tape, making business faster and more efficient which can only be good news for potential investment, innovation and jobs in our area”.

What Cllr Moran hasn’t said, is our links with Lancashire County Council are disastrous by comparison. We pay vast sums of money to it and receive very little in return.  Just concentrate on the appalling flooding issues or the transport system. The Tory clowns who ran West Lancashire ten years ago gave away the rights and money of pensioners who received a small but valuable travel concession. It was shameful.

Will Cllr Moran now seek to leave the county and join the Liverpool City Region? Or will it be more dither and doubt? And if you doubt it, the Port of Liverpool operator Peel Ports handled 230,000 shipping movements across all of its UK operations in 2020, just 1.5% lower than usual despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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