Scotland's Economy

Green ports update from Trade Minister

March 12, 2021 by No Comments | Category Business, Economy, innovation

Trade Minister Ivan McKee has written to Scottish business organisations to update them on work to establish green ports in Scotland.

Full text of letter:

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to write to you to provide an update on our work to establish green ports in Scotland, and to reassure you of this government’s intent to progress our ambition to establish the fair, green port model in Scotland as soon as possible.

As you know, we have been developing an applicant prospectus, with appropriate input from the UK Government, and I want to share some of that detail with you. We have been ready to launch the prospectus since 3 March. As things stand the UK Government is still working through its own internal approval processes resulting in a delay to issuing the bid prospectus. To be clear, any delay in our being able to issue this applicant prospectus is not of the Scottish Government’s doing.

Through recent dialogue with UK counterparts, and informed by your feedback at meetings with myself and my officials, we have designed a new model that takes the UK Government’s freeport proposition and makes it work for the Scottish context.

The material from the draft applicant prospectus attached to this letter highlights the strong fit of our green port model with the economic policy context in Scotland. We are ready to launch this applicant prospectus. We want our exciting new green port model to play its part in supporting the green recovery from the pandemic, and to support business innovation; enable high quality employment opportunities; and contribute to decarbonisation of Scotland’s economy. Green ports can make a significant contribution in these areas on their own terms; more broadly, they can also act as cutting-edge exemplars of how Scotland’s future economy can and should operate, as one focused on being world leading in realising inclusive and sustainable growth that delivers for everyone.

I am focused on ensuring that the launch of our green port applicant prospectus can be delivered as soon as possible this month. I have made it clear to the UK Government that the Scottish Government and Scotland’s business community expects this.

With the recent announcement of eight freeports in England as part of the UK Budget, we must ensure Scotland’s economic interests are pursued and protected. I have also made it clear to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that Scotland warrants having two green port designations. In addition, I will continue to press on the issue of provision, by the UK Government, of fair and equivalent seed funding to support the set-up of green ports in Scotland. I am sure you would agree that it is reasonable to expect that Scottish green ports are treated exactly the same as English freeports in this respect. All elements of the wider package of support for green ports will be set out in the full applicant prospectus.

The Scottish Government wants green ports to have access to the reserved benefits which the UK has offered to successful bidders in England, alongside a package of Scottish-specific tax measures and other forms of support. Scotland’s individual businesses and business community have a key role in innovating, developing solutions and new opportunities in growing net zero markets and in harnessing the strengths of Scotland’s workforce. Our work in this area has benefitted from your input, and I want that to continue. I hope this update provides clarity and reassurance on the Scottish Government’s objectives around green ports and our resolve to move forward with their development at pace, as soon as the UK Government have worked through their internal approval processes.

Yours sincerely,




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