Ports to bring jobs and investment post-Brexit, minister claims

Brandon Lewis MP and Liz Truss MP at Peel Ports, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Conor Matchett

Brandon Lewis MP and Liz Truss MP at Peel Ports, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Conor Matchett - Credit: Archant

Brexit will offer the ports of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth new opportunities, a government minister and Norfolk MP has claimed.

Chief secretary to the treasury Elizabeth Truss was speaking at Peel Ports in Great Yarmouth on Friday after a visit to discuss the future of the port post-Brexit.

Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft ports should be ready to handle more goods than ever before after Brexit, she said.

She said: “I’m here in Great Yarmouth to meet people involved locally in the energy industry and the port about the opportunities.

“We have seen a 10pc increase in exports out of the east of England in the last year alone, there is now £29bn worth of exports and I want to see that expand.

“There is a very can do attitude, it’s very positive, and I think Brexit brings new opportunities in terms of ports and exports which we are keen to support.”

Ms Truss, who was joined by Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, said Brexit would have a positive impact on jobs in the area and used the energy industry as an example of potential success.

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She said: “We have record employment, unemployment is the lowest it has ever been since 1975 and that is about having a strong economy and an environment that encourages business.

“What we are doing is working on that even more and making sure those opportunities are there for local people. The energy sector has been hugely successful, as has the port.”

Responding to worries that jobs at the ports would not go to the people who need them, Ms Truss said: “This government has got a good record of getting more people into work. “We have reformed the welfare system to help do that and this will give jobs at all types of levels. But what we need to do as a county is get more of the skilled jobs right across the country and ports are a great opportunity to do that.”

Government figures say more than £3m worth of goods have been traded between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth ports and Asia, North America, and non-EU European nations.