Thurrock Council's Cabinet has unanimously backed a bid to create a Thames Freeport that could see new skills academies and more than 20,000 new jobs. Cabinet agreed to support the submission of the Thames Freeport bid to government at its meeting on Wednesday 13 January.
A joint bid by DP World and Forth Ports in partnership with Ford could see a Thames Freeport, with Thurrock at its heart, attract billions in private sector investment over the next 25 years.
Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr Rob Gledhill said: "A successful bid will unlock new opportunities increasing access to training and higher pay levels across the entire borough. Thurrock will be more attractive than ever to investors, businesses and entrepreneurs. This could include skills academies coming to Thurrock, giving our residents access to specialist training.
"This isn't just about extra port jobs, it's about creating opportunity after opportunity not just for now, but for our children and even their children. Thurrock is already the ports capital of the UK, let's make it the heart of the Thames too."
Cllr Mark Coxshall, Cabinet member for regeneration and strategic planning, added: "Ports have always been in Thurrock's DNA. A strong bid will level-up communities and bring countless benefits to residents and businesses across the borough and surrounding areas and real long-term transformational change. It will generate more than 20,000 direct jobs and possibly another 20,000 indirect job opportunities in industries such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing and processing right here on our doorstep.
"This is going to be a hard fought bid against other towns across the country and we need the Thurrock community and our businesses to back this bid and help bang the drum for where we live, work, learn and play – Thurrock, the ports capital of the United Kingdom.”
The bid is also backed by local MPs and many businesses, alongside Barking and Dagenham Council, Be First, Essex Chamber of Commerce, Urban Catalyst (member of PCRL), London First, Opportunity South Essex, the Port of London Authority, the Rail Freight Group, the Thames Estuary Growth Board, Thurrock Business Board, Transport East and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).
The full report is available online as part of the Cabinet agenda, 13 January 2021.