Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed the UK Government intends to bring forward two investment zones in Scotland.

The senior Tory, who hails from Aberdeen, would not be drawn on the city’s chance of success while speaking to journalists at his party’s conference in Glasgow.

Similar to freeports, investment zones would be focused in a city or region and offer companies tax breaks in the hope of spurring on growth.

They were heavily promoted by Liz Truss during her brief tenure in power as a consolation prize for areas which failed to win a freeport.

Mr Gove told the Press & Journal he will be talking to the Scottish Government about two investment zones to be built in Scotland.

In March, UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt set out plans for 12 new investment zones.

Four final locations

Eight areas in England have already been shortlisted and the UK Government was said to be in discussions with devolved administrations over the four final locations.

Such an initiative would be welcomed in the Aberdeen area, but Mr Hunt gave nothing away about potential sites north of the border. All he said was Scotland would get at least one zone.

It has now been confirmed the government intends to award two investment zones in Scotland, raising hopes from prospective sites across the country.

Mr Gove said he could “not speculate” on whether the Aberdeen area could benefit, following its green freeport snub earlier this year.

Both Dundee and Glasgow are said to be interested in securing investment zones.

The levelling-up secretary met with Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison, during a trip north of the border.

Talks with Scottish Government

“We will be talking to the Scottish Government about two investment zones to be built in Scotland,” Mr Gove said.

“We want to make sure the locations that we identify are areas which have got a strong university or higher-education or research institution ideally.

“A specialist cluster of expertise, whether that’s net-zero energy or life sciences or another area. And also that we have willing partners on the ground.

“The Scottish Government seemed very keen on building on the success of green freeports to work with us on where the investment zones would be.

“But it’s still at an early stage, so I can’t speculate about location. When we do announce who we’re going to be working with, we’ll be doing it jointly with the Scottish Government.”

Those in favour of investment zones claim they will help fuel job creation by encouraging more businesses to regions such as the north-east.

£80million to spend

Each of the winning regions will be given £80million to spend over a five-year period.

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