Green Freeports in Scotland: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. Which Scottish Government ministers and in what role or capacity have they taken part in work relating to freeports?

2. Which UK government ministers and in what role or capacity, did those Scottish Ministers work with?

3. Which third party individuals or organisations have been involved in the creation of freeports in Scotland such as but not limited to advisors, contractors etc?


Please find the answers to each of your questions below, in turn. In addition, it may be helpful to know that Ministers from both the Scottish and UK governments worked together to establish the Green Freeports programme in Scotland and continue to take a joint approach to relevant decisions, including the selection of Green Freeport locations and considerations in respect of the business cases.

1. Information on the current Scottish Government Cabinet and Ministers, and their portfolio responsibilities can be found here - government/cabinet-and-ministers/.

In 2020 Scottish Green Freeports (then Greenports) sat within the portfolio of the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture (2020-2021), Ms Hyslop MSP supported by the Minister for Trade, Innovation and Public Finance (2020-2021), Mr McKee MSP. Subsequent to the policy sat within the portfolio of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy (2020-2023), Kate Forbes MSP, supported by the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise (2021-2023), Ivan McKee MSP. In Ms Forbes’ absence decisions were delegated to the then Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP.

Green Freeports currently sits within the portfolio of the Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, Richard Lochhead MSP, who had supported the Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Neil Gray MSP, on this until earlier this month when the responsibility was moved to the current Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Net Zero and Energy, Mairi McAllan MSP.

In addition there are areas within the Green Freeports programme which sit within other Ministers’ portfolios: Land Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) Relief is within the portfolio of the Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, Tom Arthur MSP; and Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) Relief is within the portfolio of the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Shona Robison MSP.

2. Please note that we have provided the information that we hold in relation to UK Government Ministers, however, you may wish to request any further information from the UK Government directly.

Responsibilities at the UK level initially sat with the Secretary of State for Scotland (2019- present), Alister Jack MP, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (2020- 2021), Steve Barclay MP. Simon Clarke MP and Greg Clark MP, both of whom held the position of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the latter half of 2022, were also involved in the UK Freeports programme.

The UK wide Freeports programme currently sits within the portfolio of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (2019-2022, 2022-present), Michael Gove MP. In Mr Gove’s absence the decision on selection was delegated to Mr Jack. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (2022 – present), Jeremey Hunt MP will be responsible for approving the locations of Green Freeports tax sites.

3. The following contractors have been appointed to support the delivery of the Green Freeports:

  • The Freeports Hub, led by PA Consulting, which provides technical support and specialist advice to all UK Freeports including Green Freeports.
  • A consortium of 6 firms appointed by the UK Government and led by Arup (also including Technopolis, Cambridge Econometrics, Grant Thornton, PCLP and the Institute for Fiscal Studies) supports the development of Freeports monitoring and evaluation strategy, including the monitoring and evaluation strategy for Green Freeports.
  • WSP Ltd, which provides advice to Green Freeports on carbon management and accounting.

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Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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