CEO wants action
Forth Ports boss still keen to deliver Scottish freeport
Charles Hammond: a Firth of Forth freeport would deliver 50,000 jobs
Forth Ports chief executive Charles Hammond has expressed frustration over the failure of the Scottish and UK governments to agree a joint plan to develop tax-free ports in Scotland.
He said the company was ready to start to work on ambitious plans for the Firth of Forth that would deliver up to 50,000 jobs.
The two governments failed to reach agreement last week on the UK government’s plans for two freeports, with Scottish minister Ivan McKee accusing Westminster of refusing to include conditions on such things as fair work.
The UK government insisted employment rights would be protected and expressed dismay that Holyrood rejected its plan for two ports, part of a network of plans around the UK.
As a result of the breakdown of talks, Holyrood is going it alone with a single so-called ‘green port’ proposal.
The decision has caused dismay among those who registered an interest in the freeport plan.
Responding to questions today from members of the Scottish parliament’s economy and fair work committee, Mr Hammond, said the company had already launched the Thames Freeport and is getting enquiries from interested parties who will make and distribute goods in the south east of England.
“There is great potential in the Firth of Forth to create an economic freeport-style zone which attracts the type of incentives the UK government have talked about,” he told MSPs.
“What form that takes obviously we will need to wait and see. I don’t have any details but we are still extremely keen to promote some kind of trading zone and freeport zone in the Firth of Forth in whatever form that takes.
“In terms of the ambition, and I’ll just leave you with this figure … our preliminary assessment indicates Firth of Forth freeport/green port zone to create something roundabout 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.”