SNP members have backed a motion which states freeports should not be introduced in Scotland without six key requirements.

Freeports - which allow special restriction and tax free zones for trade - are a key policy of the Westminster government, but SNP members state the proposals are part of an “agenda to undermine devolution”.

The motion set out six key requirements including that businesses working within freeports must pay a real living wage to employees, that local government must get more investment to maintain any services in these zones and that businesses must assist the Scottish Government in reaching Net Zero targets.

Trade Unions must be recognised in the zones, as well as compensation for local communities by the operation of the port by businesses and relevant controls such as health and safety, environmental and law enforcement, must be put in place, the resolution read.

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The motion reads: "Conference further agrees that local government is under-resourced at present, and as such further burdering it with Freeport requirements cannot be sustained without significant investment.

"The only way a Freeport should be operated is with consideration for the entire community in which it is sited and is fair and just to all; and with correctly staffed controls by all relevant agencies - not just in the immediate vicinity, but across the wider geographical area."

It continued: "Conference agrees therefore that without the six requirements set out above in their entirety, Freeports should not be established or permitted within Scotland."

The resolution was passed overwhelmingly by 476 votes to 16.

An amendment to the resolution fell, with 359 votes against and 169 votes for.

The National:

Cllr Peter Henderson spoke for the motion during Sunday's SNP conference

The amendment read: “Conference also recognises the determination of the Scottish Government to introduce a GreepPorts alternative which are focussed on a Net Zero approach, creating sustainable economic development and maintaining fair and just working conditions; recommends that any GreenPort initiative sits within a revised and ambitious Martime Strategy for Scotland targeted at attracting new investment in the maritime sector and to help internationalise our thinking on trade, exports and NetZero shipping opportunities.”

South Ayrshire SNP councillor Peter Henderson, who spoke in support of the resolution, said that it was “extremely important” for Scotland’s future.

He said that the UK government plan was an “attack on devolution, workers rights and local democracy”.

Adding that Freeports may offer some solutions but “without the correct controls or regulations in place as detailed in the motion the detrimental direct impact on the economy, environment, public safety, local economies and Scotland’s reputation will be damaging”.

He added that tax havens like FreePorts are “associated with criminality at all levels”, such as money laungering, counterfiet goods, banned substances, and the storage of stolen art.

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Aberdeenshire SNP Councillor Ross Cassie dubbed GreenPorts a FreePort with a “cuddly name” and called for the amendment to be rejected.

He said: “Evidence from around the world shows that these zones assist in driving down pay, terms and conditions of the workforce, as well as eroding health and safety requirements.”

Douglas Chapman, SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, supported the amendment He said that he had been keeping a “watchful eye” on the UK Government at Westminster and their move to Freeports.

He said: “We know the plan is not a silver bullet towards economic success - far from it. But I think if there’s a policy or idea you don’t like then it’s up to you to put forward an alternative, and that really is what the purpose of this amendment is about.”

Lorraine Cowan, who was a first time speaker at the virtual conference, supported the motion but did not back the amendment.

She said: “Fundamentally the sentiments in the resolution, particularly the six requirements set out in the motion, demonstrate the green credentials that would be a pre-requistie for any establishment of free ports in Scotland, this I believe makes the amendment unnecessary.”