Representative body for the maritime sector in the Liverpool City Region and greater North West, Mersey Maritime, has today added its voice to calls for a dedicated UK Government Minister to oversee government investment in projects to grow coastal economies. The campaign has been launched by Maritime UK, the national umbrella body for Britain’s £46bn maritime sector.
Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime, Chris Shirling-Rooke, said:
“This is a very timely campaign, coming as it does at the start of Seafarers Awareness Week and Mersey Maritime is delighted to throw its weight behind the call for a Minister for the ‘Coastal Powerhouse.’ We know in our region that the maritime industry is a major driver in the economy, being worth some £4.2bn and supporting 52,000 jobs according to the most recent analysis. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our industry has kept the country fed, fuelled and supplied.
“But we also know that our coastal communities, often some of the most challenged and deprived in the whole country, are also feeling the negative effects of the Coronavirus challenge in a way likely to cause considerable economic hardship. We can’t allow this to happen. That’s why we need a dedicated Government Minister with a razor sharp focus on ensuring people living on Britain’s coastlines aren’t disproportionately affected.
“We support the broad principles of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda but that can’t be limited to just the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ or ‘Midlands Engine’, important though they might be. The significance of the maritime sector in supporting so many jobs in our region, and with 50% of maritime jobs being outside London and the South East, demonstrates how we are uniquely placed to deliver on the Government’s approach. A minister would help focus and accelerate these efforts.
“And here in the Liverpool City Region, we know how well placed we are to maximise the benefits of the post-pandemic economic revival we must see happen. We have the UK’s most significant west facing port, a touching point for renewed opportunities in transatlantic trade and an industry that has enjoyed significant inward investment in recent years. We have strong road and rail networks and access to modern shipbuilding and advanced manufacturing businesses that stand alongside some of the very best in the country. What we need now is a voice right in the heart of Government banging the drum for us.
“Mersey Maritime has enjoyed strong relations with our most recent and current Maritime Minister but the brief they presently hold is very broad. Let’s hone in on our coastal communities and deliver a really focused agenda to continue driving jobs and growth in these unique communities.
“We want to help turbo-charge the development of our coastal communities. Having the strong and dedicated backing of a Government Minister to help us do that would undoubtedly bring it about as quickly and effectively as possible. Let’s do it!”