Andover’s MP has said he is hoping the town will see the economic benefits of a new Solent freeport announced in today’s budget.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Kit Malthouse said that he had been working together with other Hampshire MPs to secure the freeport, and that “it was great” to secure the commitment.

“In this constituency, we benefit as the A34 passing through North West Hampshire is a prime route down to Southampton and for the trading routes beyond, and I hope that we will see a ripple of economic activity coming out from the Solent freeport that will impact particularly on Andover.”

Freeports are areas located around shipping ports or airports which aren’t subject to import and export taxes, which are only paid if they are moved out of the freeport and into the country. The Solent freeport is likely to be based at Southampton Docks, which previously had a freeport until 2012.

It is hoped the freeports will make it cheaper for companies to do business in the UK, with businesses in the freeports to be offered temporary tax breaks for up to five years.

Some have claimed the Solent freeport will create up to 25,000 jobs, though the MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead, said that the government must ensure it benefits the region’s residents, “and doesn’t just serve big businesses with large tax breaks.”

Kit Malthouse also told the Advertiser that plans to introduce five per cent deposit mortgages were “a win-win” for Andover, and would help young people buy new houses being built in the town.

“I think is a really good move,” he said. “Certainly, in a town like Andover where we’ve got a lot of younger people who want to get on the housing ladder, and also where we’ve got a lot of new homes being built, it strikes me that it’s a win-win for the town, so I do think it’s a good idea.

“It comes on top of the extension of the nil-rate band on stamp duty which also helps home buyers. I think it’s a great move forward and that a lot of home buyers will be excited about what the prospect holds for them to get on that elusive housing ladder.”

Under the plans, houses of up to £600,000 will be eligible for a mortgage backed by the government to encourage lenders to offer funding for both first-time buyers and existing homeowners. However, many lenders often will only lend up to 4.5 times the salary of the applicant, which may not allow everyone, especially single people, to utilise the scheme.