BPA sets out spending review priorities

Famous London Tourist attraction Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in England, with stacks of English Pound coins. Concept image suggesting money and government finances.

In a letter sent to the UK Chancellor from the ports industry the British Ports Association has set out its key asks for future Government spending.

The priorities include decarbonisation, Innovation, Infrastructure, Freeports and properly functioning and resourced regulators.

With EU Exit imminent, the BPA has also called for funding to future-proof the sector. As a member of umbrella group Maritime UK, the BPA’s submission complements MUK’s submission, which calls for a £1bn maritime decarbonisation programme.

Whilst the ‘comprehensive spending review’ may be on ice for another year, according to reports, the BPA delivered its submission to the Treasury today noting that reforms putting ports at the heart of regional economies should not be delayed.

Mark Simmonds, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the British Ports Association and Chair of Maritime UK’s Policy Working Group said: “Whilst the Chancellor may understandably delay this process due to continuing uncertainty from covid-19, we hope the Government does not take its eye off decarbonisation and climate change, which is an urgent challenge.

“The asks we have submitted to Government in these five key areas cannot afford to wait another year. Regardless of what process the Government chooses to examine its spending this year, it must recognise the importance of the maritime sector and the role it plays in supporting jobs and prosperity in coastal communities and also the tight timelines for meeting expectations around net zero.

The request from the industry to the government include a multi-year green maritime fund, review of port planning and consenting regimes, continued support to achieve the UK’s Maritime 2050 targets, the Government to deliver on the recommendations of the Department for Transport’s Port Connectivity Study, and a supportive and enabling regulatory system.

“We listened to the Chancellor’s statement today [24 September] and were pleased to hear that the Government would extend support to businesses affected by the pandemic. This was a key ask from the sector’s recovery plan. We will be consulting with our members on the merits of the jobs support scheme in the coming days and weeks,” Simmonds said.

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