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A prayer for the city? John Alexander not ruling out Dundee freeport

freeports SNP
Dundee Port.

The SNP’s decision on freeports will not affect Dundee’s chance to bid for one, the city’s council leader has confirmed.

Council leader John Alexander, head of the SNP administration, said he would continue to fight for every avenue that could provide much-needed jobs and investment in the city.

Party members backed a resolution at this year’s conference stating freeports proposed by the UK Government post-Brexit were “entirely at odds” with economic recovery plans.

Mr Alexander said his focus would be to make sure never again would Dundee be “bypassed” or “late to the discussion”.

He said: “We’ve always said that we must investigate and analyse any initiatives that come forward, a position unanimously agreed by the council. To do otherwise before we had any information would not be in the interests of the city and I make my decisions based upon the facts to hand.

“Our final position was never pre-determined and it is for Forth Ports, as the port owner and operator, to decide upon the future status of the port, not for the council.

John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council.

“The council will, in the interests of the city, work with whatever decisions are made and I note that the Scottish Government continue to gather views on their approach.

“As the initiative would be implemented by the Scottish Government, it is for them to decide what form, if any, it takes

“My overriding focus is ensuring that Dundee is never bypassed or late to the discussion.

“Our ability to make our elbows felt and to fight for every pound of investment is what will define our ability to attract jobs.”

Potential

Stuart Wallace, chief operating officer at Forth Ports said: “The City of Dundee has opportunities to meet many of the success factors of the proposed freeports policy.

Dundee freeport
The Valaris 122 oil rig at Dundee’s port.

“We continue to work with a number of parties across the city to assess the potential benefits of a freeport bid for Dundee and the wider geographical area.

“We are also liaising with the Scottish Government on the implementation of the freeports policy in Scotland.”

‘Entirely at odds’

The SNP resolution reads: “Conference acknowledges that freeports cannot and will not offset the damage caused by Brexit, which is taking Scotland and the UK out of the world’s biggest free trade area and single market, and is concerned that the Tories’ focus on freeports may be positioned to compete on low-cost, low-wage, low-value opportunities with which they are often associated globally.

“Conference reaffirms that is entirely at odds with the SNP’s ambition for Scotland’s
economy to continue to build a high-productivity, high-wage, innovative economy built on the strength of our world-leading technology, businesses and academic clusters.”

Earlier this year the Scottish Green party announced their opposition to freeports, claiming offering Dundee’s port “free” status it could turn into a “hive” of criminal activity.

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