Scottish freeport plans a ‘corporate giveaway’, say Greens

The special economic zones will offer firms tax breaks and lower tariffs.

14 February 2022

The SNP’s government partners have hit out at plans to create two “green freeports” north of the border and said they “will have nothing to do with this corporate giveaway”.

In the first major split between the SNP and the Scottish Green Party since they signed their powersharing deal last year, the Greens have criticised plans to create the special economic zones which offer firms tax breaks and lower tariffs.

MSP Ross Greer, the Green’s finance spokesman, blasted the UK and Scottish Government proposals, and declared: “The Greens will have nothing to do with this corporate give away.”

Last year the Scottish Government said Westminster risked undermining devolution if they set up freeports in Scotland and Wales without the backing of devolved governments.

Ministers in Edinburgh later said they would pursue an alternative model called “green ports”, but under the new deal they will be known as “green freeports”.

The Scottish Government said the term “green freeport” reflected its distinctive net-zero aspirations.

But Mr Greer said: “A little greenwashing won’t change the grim reality of these ‘freeports’.

“They are yet another way of handing tax breaks and public money to rich corporations, despite no evidence that it will create real economic prosperity.”

The deal between Holyrood and Westminster comes as Boris Johnson is expected to visit Scotland on Monday.

Mr Greer added: “Instead of working with the Tories, we’d urge SNP colleagues to collaborate with those of us who want to build an economy which serves, rather than exploits, people and planet.

“They certainly know where to find us and our door is always open.”

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