Freeport Prestwick : behind the decision

Walker, Jim (1984) Freeport Prestwick : behind the decision. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 9 (3). pp. 70-71. ISSN 0306-7866

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On the 2nd February 1981 the Treasury, announced Britain's first six freeport sites. These, i t was claimed, represented a "geographical mix with a spread of airports and seaports which would enable the five year experiment to be properly tested." Thus ended more than a year of debate, applications and assessment within government and the forty-five bodies who applied for freeport status. The result, however, was much more than a victory for the 'chosen six - Belfast, Prestwick, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Southampton - it was also a victory for political expedience over economic experience and sense. This brief contribution examines the rationale behind the decision and its prospects.