Freight News, Sea

Scottish government to discuss next steps for freeports

[ June 25, 2021   //   ]

The Scottish government says it will hold a meeting with industry stakeholders to discuss the next steps for freeports on Wednesday 30 June. Trade Minister Ivan McKee says that the Chief Secretary or a Scotland Office Minister has been invited to attend the meeting and hear directly from industry.

In a letter to Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the Westminster government, Steve Barclay, Ivan McKee outlined concerns from the Scottish Government and industry stakeholders that a delay from the UK Government is putting Scottish ports at a competitive disadvantage. Mr McKee also confirmed that while remaining committed to working with the UK Government to establish green ports, the Scottish Government is now seeking notes of interest from business.

The Scottish government has devised its own ‘Greenports’ scheme that would offer tax and customs reliefs to operators and their beneficiaries who adopt fair work practices and contribute to Scotland’s just energy transition to net zero.

Mr McKee said: “This is a crucial time for business, trade and investment in Scotland and a key part of our recovery from the pandemic is pushing forward with an ambitious agenda of economic transformation. Green ports will help us create a sustainable economy that promotes good jobs and supports our important net zero commitments.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to working in partnership with the UK Government to ensure the benefits of green ports are equally felt by businesses across the UK. However, we have been frustrated at the lack of cooperation from the UK Government who appear to be unwilling to agree to our green port ambitions on fair work and net zero.

“We want to ensure businesses in Scotland receive the same level of incentives and assistance from the UK Government as those offered to freeports in England. I have therefore written to UK Ministers outlining our position and invited them to join us in meeting with industry leaders on June 30 where we can hopefully find a path forward that delivers for business and ensures a level playing field.

“By working together and galvanising the expertise of businesses, trade unions and workforces, we will seize Scotland’s economic potential and deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”