Freeports: Economic Impact

Scotland – in the House of Commons on 29th June 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alexander Stafford Alexander Stafford Conservative, Rother Valley

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential economic impact of building two freeports in Scotland.

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Scotland Office are delighted that the UK Government’s freeport programme is being extended to Scotland. UK Government funding of up to £52 million for two new green freeports will boost Scotland’s economy by regenerating communities, creating high-quality jobs and supporting the transition to a net zero economy.

Photo of Alexander Stafford Alexander Stafford Conservative, Rother Valley

The UK Government expect the existing confirmed freeports to add £24 billion to the UK economy. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is vital that all political parties get behind the green freeports initiative to maximise the benefits they will bring to Scotland and the whole UK, rather than a divisive, costly and unwanted referendum on Scottish separatism?

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have received five competitive bids for Scottish green freeports and the two Governments are working closely together to assess the proposals. I am confident that we will announce two outstanding winners that will create highly paid jobs, help to regenerate the areas around the ports and become global and national hubs of trade, innovation and investment.

Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Scotland)

There are five excellent bids from across Scotland for the two proposed green freeports. Each of the bids is of such high quality that it would be a great shame not to support the local economies in Inverness and Cromarty, Orkney, the Forth, the Clyde, and Aberdeen City and Peterhead. Will the Minister’s Department consider what support can be given to unsuccessful areas, and whether that support can be widened?

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

We will certainly look at that. Of course there is intense competition for the freeports, which will create huge benefits not only for the local area, but for all of Scotland.