A SENIOR county councillor has indicated the county will hear news on its freeport bid before the end of the year.

David Southward, the county council's cabinet member for economic development and property, informed fellow members at Thursday's full council meeting that a decision is set to come from the Government this year as to whether it wishes Cumbria to progress with its freeport bid.

A freeport is a designated zone within which very little tax is required to be paid, put in place in order to stimulate economic activity.

The Government is seeking to create 10 new freeports across the country, and this month received a bid from the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership to create a multi-centre freeport in the county.

This would be focused on Barrow Port, Carlisle Airport and the Port of Workington, Mr Southward explained.

He added that if successful, the Local Enterprise Partnership will be "invited to prepare a business case, to set out our proposals in greater detail".

The county council would be the accountable body for a successful bid, and supports the proposals for a freeport in Cumbria.

Earlier this month, Stewart Young, the leader of Cumbria County Council, said he was "very very pleased and encouraged by the speed at which we’ve been able to work together with other relevant bodies to produce this ambitious proposal.

""The potential for Cumbria is plain to see and I hope that Government will recognise the imaginative nature of the bid, linking three key transport hubs, and give it its backing.”