The Chancellor of the Exchequer today (17 November 2022) delivered his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons. Providing an initial response to the contents, Chris Shirling-Rooke, Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime, said:
“Mersey Maritime members will have watched with interest the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today and welcomed his focus on restoring economic stability and tackling inflation. Whilst the country, like so many around the world, faces profound economic challenges as a result of the war in Ukraine and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we know that businesses and entrepreneurs hold the keys to economic growth and prosperity in the future.
“There is much in this statement that we can welcome, challenging though many of the contents will be in the choppy economic waters that we face right now and in the months ahead. There’s no escaping the profound cost of living challenge which is impacting us all. Mersey Maritime has long advocated that boosting growth and helping businesses to grow – particularly those in our dynamic maritime sector – is essential for the future of the country. With some of the most productive jobs in the whole economy, maritime workers know what it takes to work hard, deliver growth for their businesses and as a result put substantial sums of money into the exchequer; that’s why in the Liverpool City Region alone the industry is worth some £5billion to the economy and supports nearly 50,000 jobs.
“At the heart of the future of the economy is innovation. Science and innovation are some of the UK’s greatest strengths and that’s none more so than in the blue economy where our world leading innovators and entrepreneurs have the ability to deliver significant economic benefits as well as responding with dynamism to the big challenges we face, such as the drive to decarbonise the maritime industry. It’s the reason that Mersey Maritime has championed the crucially important Maritime Knowledge Hub Project at Wirral Waters in Birkenhead. Delivering a globally renowned centre of maritime excellence has the potential to drive the prosperity of this region forward further by capitalising on the skills that are out there already and the delivering the new projects and innovations of the future. It is vital that we seize the opportunities before us to maximise the possibilities that government and industry working hand in hand can deliver.
“We welcome the news that Government spending on innovation will increase to £20 billion a year by 2024-25 and will do everything we can, working with our partners, to make sure this region gets its share of this resource to propel our economy forward despite all the challenges set before us.”