Peter Snaith, partner and head of manufacturing at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, comments on the Freeports announcement:

"We are highly supportive of the government's Freeport initiative and the Chancellor's announcements today in relation to the creation of eight new style Freeports across the UK. The decision shows a real willingness to take concrete steps along the long road to levelling up the country. It will provide a vital boost towards the regeneration of parts of the country which need it most and also support their post COVID-19 economic and social recovery.

"From the work we have been doing in support of the Teesside bid we can see the clear potential for the initiative to support the regions we operate in up and down the country. We represent all manner of clients who will interface with Freeports and which stand to benefit from them in some way. Our multi-disciplinary team is keen to help deliver the government's objectives for the country and for the regions in which we operate.

"We have been tracking the government's initiatives in this area for many years. In his 2016 report on the Free Ports Opportunity Rishi Sunak referenced the potential of our ports on Teesside and Tyneside to capitalise on the benefits that a free port can deliver for their regional economies. Shortly after the report's publication we were proud to host a meeting with the Chancellor, as he is now, to help the port services and port user communities to fully appreciate those benefits and to motivate stakeholders to grasp this opportunity.

"We are excited by the prospect of what is to come. We have a privileged position, representing a broad cross-section of the stakeholders in our new Freeports. We are keen to support the numerous entities that need to work in coalition across the country to ensure the vision for our local economies becomes a reality."