WBD has recently seen a surge in enquiries from clients and regional business groups keen to learn more about the opportunities and implications that freeports will bring and how they can prepare.
The survey which will be carried out throughout April and May will measure business sentiment across a range of different sectors to find out how much businesses know about the benefits and opportunities that freeports can offer.
The law firm hopes to get an understanding of what businesses in the region are planning, as well as levels of awareness generally, so steps can be taken if necessary to help drive engagement with the process.
The UK-wide survey comes following the government’s announcement in the Budget in March. The chancellor confirmed the eight freeport locations across the country, including the successful bid in Teesside, which the firm saluted:
Peter Snaith, partner and head of manufacturing at WBD, commented: “Womble Bond Dickinson has been tracking the developments in relation to freeports in the UK for several years and providing legal support and guidance to stakeholders in relation to the Teesside freeport bid since the government’s launch of the initiative.
“After years in the making, we were thrilled by the government’s decision to establish a freeport here. We feel this is excellent news for our region, providing a vital boost to the on-going regeneration of the area and supporting the region’s post Covid-19 economic and social recovery.
“The government’s model for a UK freeport will undoubtedly help to secure a sustainable future for the world class industries that have existed on Teesside for decades and it will help to attract further inward investment as well as provide the seed bed for new technologies and fresh opportunities for generations to come.
“As an extension of the support we have been giving to businesses with respect to the challenges surrounding the import and export of goods following Brexit, we have had a surge in questions surrounding freeports and free zones, particularly about the future effects this will have for businesses and what owners and managers located on or around the new freeports should be doing to make the most of their situations.”
“The potential benefits from the initiative will not be confined to businesses located on or moving into a Freeport tax site or customs site. However, current levels of awareness are mixed.
“We decided that a survey would be a great way of discovering business sentiment as it’s very clear to us that businesses need guidance and information around the process and how, for example, they can access certain similar benefits if they are not located within a freeport customs site.
“There is, understandably, a lack of appreciation of the potential to which the positive effects of the new freeports can extend to businesses that are not situated on one of the designated sites.”
The results of the survey will provide the team with key findings to compile a comprehensive report for businesses and also public bodies associated with freeport bids that will provide industry opinion and guidance on next steps.
To complete the survey, follow the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WLC6SX3