Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie has told MPs the island needs the investment and jobs a Freeport would bring otherwise young people will continue to leave to find work elsewhere.
Speaking in the Finance Bill debate yesterday, Virginia said she was concerned that, unless the Welsh Government started the Freeport bidding process, North Wales would lose out to English ports that are further ahead in the process.
“Unfortunately, despite all the good reasons I have for bringing a Freeport to Anglesey, the Welsh bidding process has not yet started,” she told the House of Commons.
“The Welsh First Minister has cited concerns about economic displacement, but my biggest concern is the economic displacement that will occur when trade that could have come to Anglesey goes instead to one of the eight English Freeports announced in the Chancellor’s Budget. Ports such as Liverpool are already six months ahead of us in this process.
“After almost two decades of disinvestment under the Welsh Labour Government, Ynys Môn’s gross value added is now among the lowest in the UK.
“With large employers such as Anglesey Aluminium and Rehau closing down, it is highly dependent on seasonal tourism. Our island haemorrhages young people every year because there are no quality jobs for them locally. What better place for the Government to use their Freeport model to create jobs and opportunity? How better to show levelling up at its most effective?”
Virginia added she had set up the Anglesey Freeport Bidding Consortium, which includes Stena, Anglesey County Council, Bangor University and the North Wales Economic Ambition Board to push through a bid.
She explained she would like to see a freeport on Anglesey and in Northern Ireland to “create a virtual special economic zone corridor and significantly improve the customs and trade route between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
She also said Anglesey was leading the way in green energy and it already has on and offshore wind farms, tidal energy, solar farms and is about to establish a hydrogen production plant in Holyhead in addition to the best nuclear site in the UK—Wylfa Newydd.
“The exemptions, tax and tariffs incentives, customs facilities and regulatory easements available to Freeports would make Anglesey a global, sustainable energy investment base of choice,” she added.