Back in November 2020, the UK government published the Freeports Bidding Prospectus, formally opening the bidding process to establish what it hopes will be at least seven new Freeports across England. You can read our analysis of the tax reliefs contained in the Prospectus, here: Freeports in England: The Tax Offering.

As part of the bidding process, the government invited stakeholders and potential bidders to submit questions, requesting clarification on any part of the Bidding Prospectus. On 18 January 2021, the government published a Freeports Clarification Q&A document that provides responses on some of the key questions and themes they received.

The Q&A document covers most of the sections covered in the Bidding Prospectus. These include, general policy and objectives, the assessment process and timing, geographical constraints, the customs site as well as questions raised that concerning regeneration, planning, innovation, governance and security. In relation to the tax site, the document considers several key questions relating to the number, size and shape of tax sites, the meaning of “underdeveloped”, and the eligibility requirements for the tax incentives and reliefs.