Freeports in the UK

Explore new opportunities to invest, trade and innovate across the UK.

Freeports are new hubs for global trade, investment, and innovation within the UK that create a favourable environment and exciting opportunities for businesses to grow. By choosing to invest within a UK Freeport, you could access a wide range of customs and tax benefits, as well as support from government around planning, infrastructure and innovation.

UK Freeports bring together industry, government and educational institutions, enabling you to collaborate with like-minded companies within a supportive environment for developing and trialling new ideas and technologies. Freeports offer direct access to relevant regulators through the Freeport Regulation Engagement Network.

Take advantage of Freeport incentives

As areas benefitting from special, business-friendly economic regulations, Freeports could help you achieve your goals and save time and money through:

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax relief
  • enhanced capital allowances for investment in plant and machinery and structures and buildings
  • business rates relief
  • employer National Insurance contributions relief
  • deferrals and exemptions from import duties
  • supportive local planning environments with constructive public-private partnerships
  • extensive public investment in skills and infrastructure
  • wide-ranging support from national and local government

Learn more about UK Freeports

The UK Government are working to establish Freeports across the whole of the UK. Find out more about each of the Freeports announced to date:

In January 2023 the UK and Scottish governments jointly announced the creation of 2 new Green Freeports in Scotland. The Firth of Forth Green Freeport, and the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport. Backed by up to £52 million in government funding, Green Freeports will help businesses to trade and innovate through a generous package of tax and customs benefits, as well as wide-ranging support from the UK and Scottish Governments.

Scottish Green Freeport tax incentives include:

  • land and buildings transaction tax relief
  • national insurance contributions relief
  • full business rates relief
  • enhanced capital allowance
  • enhanced structures and buildings allowance

The customs benefits will remain consistent across English Freeports and Scottish Green Freeports.

The UK and Scottish Governments are working at pace to support the two new Green Freeports to become operational later this year.

Benefit from a range of reliefs on Freeport tax sites

There are a host of tax benefits that you could take advantage of by locating in carefully selected, high potential tax sites within a Freeport. These have been prioritised for development by landowners and local and national government. View the locations of the tax sites in Freeports on GOV.UK.

Stamp Duty Land Tax relief

Outside of Freeports, purchasers buying non-residential land and buildings pay 0% on the first £150,000, 2% on the next £100,000 and 5% on the remaining amount. Freeport tax sites potentially offer total relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax on property, to be used for qualifying commercial purposes, until 30 September 2026.

Business rates relief

There is full, 100% relief from business rates on qualifying new properties and partial relief for expanded properties in Freeport tax sites. This is claimable until 30 September 2026, with the relief applying for 5 years from the point at which you receive it.

National Insurance contributions relief

Freeports offer 0% employer National Insurance contributions paid on salary up to £25,000 per annum, applicable for 3 years per eligible employee for new hires between 5 April 2022 and 6 April 2022. Employees must be new hires and spend more than 60% of their working time in the Freeport to be eligible.

Enhanced capital allowance

Freeports provide 100% first-year allowances for qualifying expenditure on plant and machinery which is primarily for use in a Freeport tax site. This is available for expenditure incurred from the date a tax site is designated until 30 September 2026.

This significantly accelerates tax relief for companies for their qualifying expenditure on key plant and machinery.

Structures and building allowance

Freeports offer an enhanced rate of structures and buildings allowance of 10% per annum compared to 3% outside Freeport tax sites. This is available for qualifying expenditure on non-residential structures and buildings where construction commences from the date a tax site is designated and the asset is brought in to qualifying use by 30 September 2026.

This significantly accelerates tax relief for businesses for their qualifying expenditure on constructing, renovating or adapting premises to suit your chosen Freeport location.

Make use of a flexible new customs procedure on Freeport customs sites

Secure customs sites within Freeports enable businesses to benefit from a flexible new customs procedure, which allows imports to enter the sites with simplified customs documentation and the payment of tariffs to be delayed or avoided. Businesses within a Freeport area can apply to HMRC to be authorised to operate a customs site or can locate within an existing customs site within the Freeport.

Tariff benefits

You can bring goods into a Freeport customs site and defer the payment of import duties until the goods enter the UK market.

If the goods are components and converted to outputs within the customs site, you can also choose to pay import duty on the component or the output (whichever is lower) when the goods enter the UK market.

You can also benefit from duty exemptions for goods that are imported into and then re-exported from a Freeport customs site.

Non-tariff benefits

Freeport sites provide simplified import procedures. This provides an expansion on existing customs facilitations and procedures available, allowing you to save time and money.

VAT benefits

Freeports offer a VAT suspension until the goods leave the tax site and enter into free circulation in the UK. This allows you more efficient management of your operational capital.