SNP ministers have started an “outrageous descent” after the party workers signed the UK’s Freeports Plan on Brexit just weeks after its condemnation.
The Scottish Government has repeatedly expressed skepticism about proposals to offer a special tax break and to develop streamlined customs procedures in at least seven Singapore-style ports in England, and from accepting calls to adopt them Is refused north of the border.
However, the SNP’s trade minister, Evan McKee, said on Thursday that a version of Freeport would be delivered, although they have been described as “shining squirrels” designed to distract from the loss of Brexit in October.
He claimed that the Scottish version of Freeport would be different, renamed ‘Greenport’ which would focus on reducing carbon emissions and protecting working conditions.
Today SNP’s extraordinary comeback.
Earlier, Trade Minister Ivan McKee attacked Freeport and was criticized by the SNP conference. Today, Mr. McKee embraces him with open arms. Hopefully, the SNP’s hesitation did not give Scotland much time.
– Maurice Golden MSP (@mgoldenmsp) January 21, 2021
However, in Holyrood, a pro-independence ally of the SNP, accused the Scottish Government of attempting to “greenwash” the British plan.
Many Scottish ports have expressed interest in obtaining free port status, including Cromartie, Aberdeen and Dundee.
However, the SNP denounced the plan to delegates at the party’s conference in November.
The proposal stated that free play ‘cannot compensate for the losses from Brexit’ and expressed concern that this could create opportunities for lower costs, lower wages and lower prices. With the SNP’s ambition for the Scottish economy “.
Scottish Conservatives economic spokesman Maurice Golden said: “This is an outrageous descent for the SNP. A few months ago, Evan McKee claimed that free games are a” fantastic squirrel “and the SNP convention backed a proposal rejecting him did.
“This is a welcome SNP diversion.” They seem to have finally realized that companies are desperate to reap the benefits of Freeport. “
Freeport allows businesses to import goods and then re-export them outside of general tax and customs regulations.
The UK last had such territories in 2012 and was allowed under EU law. However, supporters argue that the benefit will be greater once the UK leaves this bloc, allowing the UK to deviate from EU rules.
Speaking to Holycrode, Mr McKee said the UK plan would be suited to a ‘Scottish context’.
He said: “We will adopt the UK Government Freeport model and implement Scotland’s values and priorities to meet our ambition to develop a net zero economy and meet the highest standards of security. Environment and fair labor practices .
“Scotland will transform Freeports into sustainable, fair green ports. We will not engage in an economic model and mechanism that allows a downward race.
“Instead, Greenport’s Scottish model would be an example, embracing best practices that help maintain fair trade and pure zero principles while supporting ambitions of uplift and innovation.
Listening to Evan McKee’s thoughtful statement on Greenports model as an alternative and more progressive approach to the Freeport model preferred by the UK Government – a net zero transition to Scotland’s progressive focus and conditional on the implementation of fair labor principles.
– Paul Wheelhouse MSP🏴 (@PaulWheelhouse) January 21, 2021
Although he said companies located in the new green ports could potentially benefit from some tariff relief, he said there would be “clear conditions” and “obligations” that they would have to fulfill.
These may include companies that pay their workers real wages and subscribe to the Scottish Business Pledge, which prohibits companies from using zero-hour contracts and allows them to work to deal with the gender pay gap Commits to
However, Scotland’s environmental spokesman, Mark Raskell, said: “Simply labeling a free port as ‘green’ does not guarantee environmental and worker standards, and poses a real risk of greening a port. Bottomline Reduced race.
“We have not seen any details on the environmental standards that these ports would be expected to meet. They should not be part of the Brexit race on the basis of standards and safety or free rein in planning decisions, which should be accountable to communities. ”
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