Scottish ministers have now announced plans to develop "green ports" as an alternative model to the freeports being set up by the UK Government in the wake of Brexit. Ms Sturgeon had previously dismissed freeports as “low-cost, low-wage, low-value opportunities”. Ministers at Westminster hope to establish at least seven freeports in England, giving the areas "generous" tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and wider Government support.
This is a humiliating climb-down for the SNP
Scottish trade minister Ivan McKee claimed there were concerns about criminality, tax evasion and reduced workers' rights in freeport zones and insisted it was "not a model or an approach that this Scottish Government will sign up to or allow here in Scotland".
He said the Scottish Government would instead "adapt" the UK policy and align it with its values of fair work and developing a lower carbon economy.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But Scottish Conservative economy spokesman, Maurice Golden MSP, said: “This is a humiliating climb-down for the SNP."
Nicola Sturgeon's SNP has been accused of making a humiliating climbdown over freeports (Image: PA)
Mr Golden continued: "Just a few months ago, Ivan McKee was claiming that freeports are a 'shiny squirrel' and the SNP conference backed a motion slamming them.
“This screeching SNP U-turn is very welcome. It seems they have finally realised that businesses are desperate to reap the benefits from freeports.
“The Scottish Conservatives and UK Government have said for months that the SNP should stop playing politics and start working constructively to take these proposals forward.
“Yet again, the SNP treated business as an afterthought. They ignored the benefits to make political points and only now have they finally backed down.”