North-east freeport could lead to 20,000 new jobs

Scottish ministers have been told “time is of the essence” to kick-start a north-east freeport bid that could deliver around 20,000 new jobs and “strap a rocket” to Scotland’s pandemic recovery.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 6:50 am
Mark Findlater believes freeports offer great opportunities for the North East of Scotland.

In line with recent analysis by several ports in England, Mark Findlater, Scottish Conservative candidate for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, estimates a north-east trade hub would be broadly comparable to Teeside’s 18,000 jobs, between Felixstowe and Harwich’s 13,500 and Thurrock’s 25,000.

And he has urged Scottish Ministers to stop “dragging heels” to assist Scottish bids to the Freeport process.

Writing to trade minister Ivan McKee, Mr Findlater said: “Across the UK, freeports are expected to deliver large-scale investment and new jobs.

“I have read recent studies on the immediate economic benefit to regions elsewhere in the UK. If Teeside delivers 18,000 new jobs and Thames 25,000, I would suggest a North East freeport would deliver at least 20,000 new employment opportunities.”

Mr Findlater said Scotland’s ports had been left behind in the process as a result of government sluggishness and dragging of heels.

“The bidding process for England started in November last year, and we need to get this moving or else all those much-needed jobs could be at risk,” he said.

“The Scottish Conservatives support a freeport in the North East, and the next Scottish Parliament would have our help to making this a reality. But time is of the essence.”