Two 'green freeports' set to be established in Scotland
The UK and Scottish governments have agreed to establish two ‘green freeports’ in Scotland.
The green freeports are designated areas where businesses can operate outwith the normal tax and tariff rules.
They allow goods to be imported, manufactured and re-exported without being subject to checks, paperwork, or import taxes, known as tariffs.
This means raw materials can be imported, then engineered into whole products for export.
The next steps in the process will be set out by ministers in the coming weeks, but a finalised joint prospectus and joint assessment process is expected to be published in March with winning bids announced over the summer.
According to the Scottish government, applicants in Scotland will be required to contribute towards “a just transition to net-zero emissions by 2045, delivering net-zero benefits and creating new green jobs”.
The UK government is expected to provide up to £52m in seed funding to help establish the green freeports in Scotland which is in line with funding offered to freeports across England.
The Scottish government’s economy secretary, Kate Forbes, said: “I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement on a joint approach that recognises the distinct needs of Scotland's economy and enshrines the Scottish government’s commitment to achieving net-zero and embedding fair work practices through public investment.
“The Scottish government will have an equal say on all bids, and will expect bidders to adhere to fair work practices including payment of the real living wage.
“Scotland has a rich history of innovative manufacturers and so as we look to grasp the many opportunities of achieving net-zero, the establishment of internationally competitive clusters of excellence will help us create new green jobs, deliver a just transition and support our economic transformation.
“We can only seize Scotland’s economic potential if we create secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs that also help build a fairer, more prosperous economy for everyone. That is my absolute priority and establishing green freeports will be integral to achieving this.”
The UK government’s secretary of state, Michael Gove, said: “This is a truly exciting moment for Scotland, and I am delighted we will be working together with the Scottish Government to set up two new green freeports.
“Green freeports help inject billions into the local economy, while levelling-up by creating jobs for local people, and opportunities for people all over the UK to flourish.
“By collaborating using opportunities like green freeports we can work to level-up the whole of the UK and bring benefits and opportunities to communities that need it most.”