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Great British Public undecided on freeports

[ June 3, 2021   //   ]

The British public believes that freeports will have a positive impact on the economy but many people are unclear on how they will work, according to research by economic development and infrastructure specialists, Copper Consultancy.

Copper’s Attitudes to Freeports report, published on 3 June, considers the views of a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults. It found that, though a majority of the public believe that freeports will be beneficial to the economy, aspects such as their role in fostering clean growth and innovation are less well understood. 

Following the announcement of eight new freeports in the Budget in March 2021, the survey was designed to provide both quantitative and qualitative insights into attitudes towards the Chancellor’s flagship policy.

Despite the high profile given to the announcement of eight new freeports in the Chancellor’s March Budget speech, the report found that only 36% of people said they were aware of them.

However, the report also found that, once made aware, the public believes that freeports will have a positive impact on the economy, with 60% of respondents viewing freeports as a positive force for economic good. Just 15% of those surveyed thought freeports will negatively impact the economy.

But when provided with eight statements setting out potential benefits and impacts, only freeports’ role in creating jobs attracted strong agreement from more than 20% of people.  Statements on clean growth and innovation appeared to have less impact but neither did fears around the creation of tax havens or lowering of environmental and employment standards.

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