A message from Howard Pridding, Chief Executive of the British Marine Federation:
“Our key objectives for ensuring Government support of Britain’s thriving marine industry”
Apart from one lucky Scot, who placed a £30, 000 bet on the Conservative Party taking a majority at the General Election, not many expected anything but complicated negotiations following another hung parliament. But here we are, three weeks on and with the machinery of the first majority Conservative Government since 1992 slowly grinding into action. So what does it all mean for the UK’s marine industry?
While David Cameron kept a great deal of consistency in his Cabinet, reappointing many key Ministers, there were some significant changes in Departments crucial to the marine industry.
Sajid Javid MP, moved from the Culture brief to become Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, the Department responsible for much of the business policy that affects our industry. He and his ministerial colleagues – Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Business; Nick Boles MP, Minister for Skills and Francis Maude, Minister for Trade – will be key targets for the British Marine Federation (BMF) in the coming months. We will seek to engage them on important policies concerning export and manufacturing support, as identified in the BMF Manifesto.
Back at the Department for Culture, former Chair of the House of Commons Culture Committee, John Whittingdale OBE MP, has taken over the reins. Alongside new Tourism Minister, Tracey Crouch, they will be responsible for ensuring that together, the Government, Visit Britain and Visit England deliver the right policies and support that the UK’s tourism industry needs. The BMF believes that marine should be directly referred to in the Government’s national tourism strategy and will be pushing hard to see this happen.
Closer to home at the Department for Transport, Robert Goodwill MP, who himself is the owner of a passenger boat, has been named Shipping Minister. Robert is responsible for the MCA, as well as delivering Government’s support to the Maritime Growth Strategy, which was launched last year and is expected to report later this year. The BMF has already highlighted that there needs to be more joined up, cross-department support for the industry and we will be helping Government and other stakeholders meet this demand.
What’s more, with rumours that the Department for Transport could pick up a sizable portion of the cuts in future economic reforms prompting concerns, the BMF will be watching the Department closely.
Looming behind all these Departments is the hot topic of European reform and an In/Out Referendum (‘Brexit’). Organisations like the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) support the UK staying in Europe and have called for a referendum to happen as soon as possible to remove uncertainty for businesses. But the question still remains – what does the UK’s leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry think should happen on the Brexit question? Should the UK stay in the EU or choose to leave and go it alone? Whatever the outcome, the BMF will be here to voice the interests of its members and ensure the Government supports Britain’s thriving marine industry. Therefore we invite you to send your thoughts to email@example.com to help form an overview of the industry’s response.