With less than three weeks to go until polling day in the General Election 2019, the manifestoes have been launched and live ballot papers are now beginning to land on doormats. Voters around the country are making their choice in what may well turn out to be one of the historic electoral contests of our generation. With all the rhetoric and the heat of debate in the campaign, it is easy for key messages and themes to be missed with the focus inevitably being on the seminal subjects of the NHS, education and, of course, Brexit, arguably the very reason this election is taking place at all.
Mersey Maritime members know only too well how much our sector really matters and deserves to have the spotlight of debate cast upon it too. Nationally it is worth more to the economy than air and rail combined, representing £46.1 billion and 1.1 million jobs. Closer to home, the key statistics are striking too.
Over the summer, in collaboration with Maritime UK, we commissioned a major study into the economic impact of the sector in the Liverpool City Region and the results were significant. When the discussions at a national level talk in abstract terms about the ‘economy’, ‘growth’, ‘productivity’ and ‘jobs’, this is what that actually means.
Maritime in our region:
- Contributes £4.2 billion to the economy in domestic output through business turnover;
- Supports 52,000 jobs across the area;
- Employs some of the most productive works in the economy, way above the national average; and
- For every £1 generated by the sector, the wider economy benefits by £2.64.
My message is simple and clear: with maritime being so important to all levels of the economy, this general election is an essential opportunity to focus on the priorities our industry has already been setting out in this campaign through the Maritime UK manifesto. Building on Maritime 2050, the first long-term strategy that is already driving the sector forward since its launch earlier this year, the themes are well known and familiar. But people, innovation, the environment, competitiveness and regional growth aren’t just words. They represent clear priorities and policy areas that, acted upon properly, have the potential to have a transformative effect. Like investing in people to equip them with the skills they need for an exciting career in maritime – from ports to shipping or businesses services. Or harnessing new technology and innovation as a response to the pressing need to tackle the climate change agenda that underpins our own collaboration recently with businesses in the offshore energy sector. There’s massive potential out there across so many areas!
It really is vital that candidates from all parties, particularly those who have the opportunity to represent our coastal communities, respond to the overall vision the industry is setting out as we seize the opportunities that an election campaign always presents. The driving ambition to create a stronger, greener, outward looking and global UK maritime sector to build prosperity and jobs is there amongst our businesses and partners. The challenge now is for our aspirant politicians to step up to the mark and make it a reality!
Read the Maritime UK manifesto here: https://www.maritimeuk.org/media-centre/news/maritime-uk-launches-general-election-manifesto/