The UK and Scottish governments have jointly announced that Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport have been successful in their bids to establish two new Green Freeports in Scotland. Each of these Freeports will be granted up to £26 million in funding over the next few years, primarily to address infrastructure gaps which are currently holding back investment.
Freeports are a special kind of port where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. Rather, there are simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods. This announcement builds on the UK Government’s successful Freeport programme in England, where there are currently eight operational Freeports with a further five sites recently being granted final government approval.
After designation, businesses in Freeport tax sites are able to benefit from various tax reliefs including:
- an enhanced 10% rate of structures and buildings allowance;
- an enhanced capital allowance of 100%;
- full relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax;
- business rates relief on certain business premises within freeport tax sites; and
- employer National Insurance contributions relief, subject to Parliamentary process and approval.