HOPES that Welsh freeports are back on track have risen after Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie was told by the levelling up minister Michael Gove an announcement could be made soon.
Mrs Crosbie has been pushing hard for a freeport on Anglesey and has criticised the Welsh Government for dragging its heels while English ports like Liverpool power ahead with their plans.
But Mr Gove told the House of Commons: “I can confirm that we have had very fruitful negotiations… with the Welsh Government.
“I want to place on record my thanks to Vaughan Gething and other ministers in the Welsh Government, and I hope that we will be able to make an announcement shortly about the process by which we will allocate freeports in Wales.
“At the moment the proposal is for one freeport in Wales, but I recognise that both south Wales and north Wales have significant potential for freeports in the future.”
He then praised Mrs Crosbie’s campaign to get a freeport off the ground in the principality.
“There are few better advocates, in particular for Anglesey, than my great honourable friend,” he added.
Mrs Crosbie had earlier asked the minister: “Freeports are one of the ways this government is levelling up across the devolved administrations, and I am delighted that there is to be at least one freeport in Wales.
“Can the Secretary of State update the House about ongoing discussions with the Welsh Government and when we can expect the Welsh freeport bidding prospectus to be published?”
Speaking afterwards, Mrs Crosbie added: “This was a very positive response by the minister.
“I am pleased we could be close to progress on a freeport or even freeports for north and south Wales – something I, of course, fully support.
“I make no secret I want one on Anglesey and I will continue to make the case for that to happen, but I am actually really pleased the Welsh government is now being far more positive about freeports than before after so many months of inactivity.
“I have said many times we need this stimulus in Wales because it will bring jobs and investment to areas that need it to level up. I look forward to the announcement when it comes.”