A FREE PORT on the River Tees could create up to 32,000 jobs, according to the formal report submitted as part of a Government's consultation.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority and mayor Ben Houchen are backing the creation of a free port in the area.

It has now submitted its response to the Government consultation, saying it could create up to 32,000 jobs and add £2billion to the regional economy.

Mr Houchen said: “A free port in the Tees Valley represents a fantastic opportunity to turbocharge our local economy and bring with it much needed jobs, growth and investment for our local people.

“These are going to be more important than ever as we look to the future and to playing our part in the UK’s economic recovery from the current coronavirus pandemic."

Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet lead for inward investment, said: “All reports point to free ports being brilliant for the people I represent across Redcar and East Cleveland. It will help our area attract businesses in the sectors of the future and create thousands of good-quality jobs for future generations."

The low or no tax zones are meant to encourage economic activity. The Government has plans to create up to 10 of them in the UK.