Referral of the proposed Green Freeports in Scotland Subsidy Scheme by Scottish Government and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Competition Markets Authority

April 24
12:13 2024

Administrative timetable

Date Action
24 April 2024 SAUs report published
26 March 2024 Deadline for receipt of any third party submissions (submissions after 5pm on this date cannot be taken into account)
11 March 2024 Beginning of reporting period

Final report

24 April 2024: The SAU has published its report providing advice to SG and DLUHC in relation to the proposed Green Freeports in Scotland Subsidy Scheme. The report includes the SAUs evaluation of SG and DLUHCs Assessment of Compliance of the proposed scheme with the requirements set out in the Subsidy Control Act 2022.

Request from Scottish Government and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

11 March 2024: The SAU has accepted a request for a report from SG and DLUHC concerning the proposed Green Freeports in Scotland Subsidy Scheme. This request relates to a Subsidy Scheme of Particular Interest.

The SAU will prepare a report, which will provide an evaluation of SG and DLUHCs assessment of whether the scheme complies with the subsidy control requirements (Assessment of Compliance). The SAU will complete its report within 30 working days.

Information about the scheme provided by Scottish Government and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

The Scottish Government (SG) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) are proposing to create a Subsidy Scheme to help achieve the strategic ambitions for Green Freeports in Scotland. Specifically, this will involve public authorities awarding subsidies to qualifying enterprises in Green Freeport locations to:

  • promote regeneration and high-quality job creation - lead objective
  • promote decarbonisation and a just transition to a net zero economy
  • establish hubs for global trade and investment
  • foster an innovative environment

Following a competitive bidding exercise, in January 2023 Forth Green Freeport and Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport were selected. Green Freeports are designed to boost innovation and inclusive growth within communities, creating new green jobs, upholding the highest environmental protections, and supporting economic transformation.

The Green Freeports Subsidy Scheme intends to use a combination of reserved and devolved tax levers and funding to remove barriers to private sector investment in port locations and help to address entrenched inequality and economic disadvantage.

Under the Subsidy Scheme qualifying enterprises will be able to receive support through the following measures:

  • Land and Buildings Transaction Tax relief
  • non-domestic rates relief
  • first year capital allowance on plant and machinery
  • zero rate of secondary National Insurance contributions for employees
  • enhanced structures and buildings allowances
  • seed capital funding

All the subsidies are limited in duration with specific terms and conditions set out in the relevant guidance. The Subsidy Scheme is designed to achieve transformational change in Green Freeport locations. The benefits include projected growth in economic activity through new business formation and the expansion of existing businesses, which will create an increased number of jobs and raise average private sector wages. SG and DLUHC have determined that the Green Freeports Subsidy Scheme is a Subsidy Scheme of Particular Interest as there is the potential for the Scheme to provide subsidies of greater than 10m to qualifying enterprises.

SG and DLUHC have stated that whilst it is not possible to establish a definitive budget for this scheme ahead of time, that based on Office for Budget Responsibility costings this can be approximated as 118m (50m in seed capital, 68m in tax reliefs).

Information for third parties

If you wish to comment on matters relevant to the SAUs evaluation of the Assessment of Compliance concerning the proposed Green Freeports in Scotland Subsidy Scheme please send your comments before 5pm on the date stipulated in the timetable above. For guidance on representations relevant to the Assessment of Compliance, see the section on reporting period and transparency in the Operation of the subsidy control functions of the Subsidy Advice Unit.

Please send your submissions to us at,copying the public authorities: and

Please also provide a contact address and explain in what capacity you are making the submission (for example, as an individual or a representative of a business or organisation).

Notes to third parties wishing to make a submission

The SAU will only take your submission into account if it can be shared with SG and DLUHC. The SAU will send a copy of your submission to SG and DLUHC together with its report. This is to allow the public authority to take account of the submission in its decision as to whether to grant or modify the scheme or its assessment. We therefore ask that you provide express consent for your full and unredacted submission to be shared. We also encourage you to share your submission directly with SG and DLUHC using the email addresses provided above.

The SAU may use the information you provide in its published report. Therefore, you should indicate in your submission whether any specified parts of it are commercially confidential. If the SAU wishes to refer in its published report to material identified as confidential, it will contact you in advance.

For further details on confidentiality of third party submissions, see identifying confidential information in the Operation of the subsidy control functions of the Subsidy Advice Unit.


Published 12 March 2024
Last updated 24 April 2024 +show all updates
  1. Final report published

  2. First published.

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