The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison MP, has chaired a roundtable with maritime industry leaders, hearing of new opportunities for the sector in light of the decision to leave the EU.
Representatives from across UK shipping, ports, marine engineering, leisure and maritime business services highlighted new opportunities for growth, which exist now that Britain is leaving the EU.
Following the publication of the Maritime Growth Study, the maritime sector has come together under umbrella organisation Maritime UK, which collectively represents an industry worth £22 billion to the UK economy, supporting over 500,000 jobs.
Maritime is a vital part of the UK’s island nation heritage and of its modern economy – supporting jobs, driving innovation and enabling trade. The sector also enables millions of people to enjoy the recreational benefits of the UK’s coastal and inland waterways.
Discussions between industry and Government centred on ensuring that the UK is as attractive and competitive a destination as possible for global maritime business.
Industry leaders discussed ways of increasing the number of UK seafarers being trained, and announced a study into the economic impact of Tonnage Tax to the UK economy.
The Minister heard of the current renaissance in UK shipbuilding, embodied by the RSS Sir David Attenborough being built by Cammell Laird in Merseyside, Princess Yacht’s new investment in the UK’s world-leading superyacht industry, Thames Clipper’s expanded fleet being built on the Isle of Wight, and the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships being built in Glasgow.
Ensuring an EU deal that provides the smooth flow of goods was flagged as a priority, and discussions with Maritime UK’s Ports members will continue.
The Treasury heard that the maritime sector is preparing to submit a bid for a maritime “sector deal” as part of the Government’s new industrial strategy, and that its National Shipbuilding Strategy must be a part of this, helping to foster sustainable growth in both defence and commercial shipbuilding.
Industry also highlighted the UK’s world leadership in maritime autonomy, and discussed ways in which the UK Government can help ensure this leading position is capitalised upon.
David Dingle CBE, Chair of Maritime UK said:
“During our meeting, the Minister rightly recognised that maritime is a critically important sector. As well as creating innovative and world-leading products and services, our sector is uniquely responsible for facilitating and enabling UK trade with the rest of the world.
“As the UK leaves the EU, and resolves to boost trade around the world, our sector is committed to playing its critical enabling role.”
“We welcome the Treasury’s commitment to working with industry to make the most of new opportunities that now Brexit presents.
“Equally, there are a number of areas where we’ll be reminding Government of the need to overcome the potential challenges that leaving the EU may pose.”