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Industry invited to note interest.
Businesses are being asked to note their interest in establishing fair and sustainable green ports in Scotland.
Adapting the UK Government freeport proposals, the aim of Scottish green ports is to offer a package of 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.
In a letter to Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay, Trade Minister 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.
A meeting with industry stakeholders to discuss the next steps is scheduled for 30 June. Mr McKee has invited the Chief Secretary or a Scotland Office Minister to attend the meeting and hear directly from industry.
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.”
Green ports would use Fair Work First criteria, which means no inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts, payment of the real living wage, action to tackle the gender pay gap, investing in workforce development and providing appropriate effective voice channels for workers, such as trade union recognition.
This informal expression of interest exercise will form part of our consultation on green ports and is not part of the formal application or selection process, which will follow, subject to agreement by the UK Government.