In what is a boost for the country’s struggling airports the Government has outlined plans for Freeports in the era of post-Brexit trade.

The Freeport bidding process for England will be available before the end of the year with the first site planned to be open by the end of 2021.

Westminster says it is working constructively and collaboratively with the devolved administrations to ensure Freeports are a UK-wide offer that will enable their creation in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Designed to attract major domestic and international investment the Government points out they have been successfully used in countries around the world to drive prosperity and boost trade.

A firm can import goods into a Freeport without paying tariffs, process them into final goods and then either pay a tariff on goods sold into the domestic market or export the final goods without paying UK tariffs.  Major beneficiaries could be Heathrow, the country’s largest port in terms of business, Southampton for ships and also cargo airports such as East Midlands.

The scheme is being actively promoted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.