Scottish Government proposes green ports to aid economic recovery

The Scottish Government has unveiled proposals for a new model of green ports focused on inclusive growth, fair work practices and delivering a net-zero economy.

Scottish Government proposes green ports to aid economic recovery

Ivan McKee, trade minister

The Scottish Government is developing plans to establish fair, sustainable, green ports. These would adapt the UK government’s freeport proposals, offering streamlined planning processes and a package of tax and customs reliefs.

The Scottish Government’s green ports would make it necessary for operators and businesses benefitting from the package of incentives to:

  • Pay the real Living Wage
  • Adopt the Scottish Business Pledge
  • Commit to supporting sustainable and inclusive growth in local communities
  • Contribute to Scotland’s just transition to net zero

The plans were announced by trade minister Ivan McKee who will hold discussions with the UK Government next week.

Mr McKee said: “The reputation of freeports across the world is mixed, with concerns about deregulation and risks of criminality, tax evasion and reductions in workers’ rights raised. That is not a model nor an approach that this Scottish Government will sign up to or allow here in Scotland.

“And it is clear that freeports cannot and will not undo the damage being caused to Scotland’s economy by the UK Government’s decision to take us out of the EU, the world’s biggest single market.

“Instead, we propose to take the freeport model and apply Scotland’s priorities to it, so that it meets our ambition to deliver a net zero, wellbeing economy that upholds the highest standards of environmental protections and fair work practices and supports our strategy of building clusters of high productivity businesses across Scotland’s regions.

“We have listened to what businesses and communities have said and there is an appetite for new ways to support our economy through the recovery.

“The Scottish green port model will be an exemplar, adopting best practice which helps deliver our net-zero emissions and fair work principles, alongside supporting regeneration and innovation ambitions.”

Dr Liz Cameron OBE, chief executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, added: “Scottish business welcomes the Scottish Government’s plans to develop sustainable green ports to aid economic recovery. Whilst we await further detail from the Government, it seems they have listened to the key asks from business including the provision of investment incentives and a package of tax and customs reliefs. Now, we will want to engage with Government on the design and delivery of green ports in Scotland.

“Businesses needs all the tools in our toolbox to enable us to grow and to compete with freeport models across the globe. Scotland’s green ports approach, which couples the incentives of a UK-freeport model and Scotland-specific initiatives, has the ambition to drive business growth and job creation. This is an important step to ensuring Scotland remains attractive and competitive to domestic and international investors.”

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