TWO bids for green freeports on the east coast of Scotland have been confirmed by both Scottish and UK ministers.

Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport have been jointly selected by the Scottish and UK governments to become Scotland’s first Green Freeports.

The two winning bids will be supported by up to £52 million in start-up funding by the UK Government and will benefit from tax reliefs and other incentives through a combination of devolved and reserved powers.

The new sites are expected to bring forward an estimated £10.8 billion of private and public investment and create more than 75,000 new, high-skilled jobs.  

Speculation had mounted over the last few days in the media that both bids had been successful.

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Applicants to become a Green Freeport in Scotland were required to demonstrate how they would contribute towards a just transition to net zero emissions by 2045 and create new, green jobs. They were also required to set out how they would support high-quality employment opportunities with fair work conditions at their core.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Working together delivers results – and I am absolutely delighted that the First Minister and I can announce the delivery of our shared ambition for people in Scotland today with not one but two excellent Green Freeport areas.  

“In extending the benefits of freeports to Scotland, we are unleashing the potential of the Firth of Forth and Inverness and Cromarty Firth – backing the delivery of thousands of high-quality green jobs for future generations, as we continue to make gains on our commitments to transition to net zero.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This is a milestone achievement in the process to deliver green freeports for Scotland.

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“Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport will support businesses to create high-quality, well-paid new jobs, promote growth and regeneration, and make a significant contribution to achieving our net zero ambitions. .

“A rigorous joint selection process has been followed. The successful applicants showed a strong determination to embed fair work practices, including payment of the Real Living Wage, and to enshrine net zero initiatives in their work.”

He added: “We look forward to working closely with them to ensure they deliver maximum positive impact and become operational as soon as possible.

“We will also work with the unsuccessful bidders to consider how they can build on the plans set out in their bids to deliver jobs and growth in their regions outside the green greenports programme.

“Scotland has a rich history of innovation, trade and manufacturing and as we look to seize the many opportunities achieving net zero offers, the creation of these internationally competitive clusters of excellence will help us to create new green jobs, deliver a just transition and support our economic transformation.”

But local SNP activists in Edinburgh, where the Forth bid was successful, have criticised the move.

Edinburgh SNP group leader, Adam McVey, said: "We have continuing concerns about the amount of tax revenue that will be lost from Edinburgh, whether any investment generated will be genuinely lasting, and the potential impacts on workers rights that the Tory UK Government are worryingly still responsible for.

"We will monitor these aspects extremely closely going forward and make sure this project is transparent and accountable.”