I campaigned for over three years for Anglesey to have Freeport status and on 23 April 2023 I was delighted when the UK and Welsh Government’s announced that our bid to become a freeport was successful. I was honoured that the Prime Minister accepted my invitation to visit Anglesey to help us celebrate.
What does Anglesey Freeport mean for us?
Essentially a freeport means that certain parts of Anglesey – M-SParc, Rhosgoch, Parc Cybi and the Holyhead Port/Eco Park will not have trade tariffs and will have tax benefits for the businesses that are based within them.
This will encourage growth and investment here on Anglesey and beyond - and all areas of our island are set to benefit.
The kind of businesses that we expect to move here will bring good-quality, well-paid, long-term skilled jobs which will encourage growth and investment on our island.
Our local education providers have been engaged throughout the process so that we can make sure that relevant skills training is available for anyone who wants a job – as well as for our young people.
Anglesey freeport will encourage trade, bringing jobs and money onto our island, giving our young people a future here, and keeping our Welsh language and culture alive.
You can find out more about Anglesey Freeport here.
What did I do to make Anglesey Freeport happen?
Bringing jobs and investment to Anglesey is my key driver as your Member of Parliament. Almost everyone I speak to locally says that this is their main concern for the future of our island.
That is why I have been backing a bid for freeport status since before I was elected.
Ynys Môn has been left behind by successive MPs and MSs. For years we have watched business after business pack up shop forcing our young people to leave in search of quality employment elsewhere.
I started the Anglesey Freeport Bidding Consortium in 2020 – nearly two years before the Welsh Freeport Prospectus was released.
The Consortium ignited a flame of interest and engagement with the idea of freeport status for Anglesey. It brought together key stakeholders like the Council, Stena, Bangor University and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai to look at the potential benefits, structure and priorities for Anglesey Freeport alongside global freeport experts.
Establishing this group meant that when the prospectus was published, Anglesey was already well ahead of the game in putting a bid together.
It also formed a platform for me to bring potential business investors to Anglesey to look at the potential for establishing operations here.
Whilst the bid was being produced as a joint project between Stena and the Council, I continued to work with local, national and global businesses who between them wrote forty letters of support that were submitted as part of our bid. The average salaries of those businesses are twice the average on Anglesey today.
I lobbied hard in Westminster to ensure that Anglesey Freeport was known across all parties, but particularly with the Ministers making decisions on the bid. I raised the subject so many times in the House of Commons that the Leader of the House joked that she was going to rename her regular Business Questions slot as “Freeport Thursdays”.
I am now hosting a series of Freeport Facebook Live sessions on Tuesdays at 6.30pm. Each week I have a conversation with a key member of the Freeport team or someone else with a vested interest in its success, so that you can ask questions and get answers straight from the horse’s mouth.
Here is a brief timeline of my commitment to the people of Ynys Môn through this project.
- December 2019: "I will lobby in Westminster to make Holyhead a Freeport" says Virginia Crosbie.
- November 2020: The launch of my Anglesey Freeport Bidding Consortium.
- November 2021: The release of the English Freeport Bidding Prospectus. I begin my fight for the Welsh Prospectus to be published.
- 2021 – 2023: I have shown a number of global businesses around the island. They are all interested in setting up here and have submitted letters of support for our bid.
- September 2022: After a long battle the Welsh Freeport Prospectus is released and I work with the Anglesey Freeport Bidding Consortium to progress and submit our bid.
Business of the House - Hansard - UK Parliament Business of the House - Hansard - UK Parliament
- 2023: With the bid submitted I continue to work hard to promote Anglesey as a freeport. I want us to have the best possible chance of being chosen because I know what a difference it will make locally.
- March 2023: Anglesey is made one of two Welsh Freeports. The announcement is made whilst I am accompanying Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on a visit to Holyhead.
- July 2023: I host my first Freeport Seminar in Llangefni.
- September 2023: I host my second Freeport Seminar in Holyhead.