Labour has become the first of the major political parties to respond to a Nautilus request for details of maritime policy proposals ahead of the general election.
The Union wrote to the four largest Parliamentary parties asked for information about their priorities for the maritime sector if elected to government. Andy McDonald, who served as Labour’s shadow transport secretary until the dissolution of Parliament, has provided the following statement.
‘As an island nation, the importance of the UK’s maritime sector cannot be overstated, and our future economic, social and security interests will depend upon seafarers and a resilient maritime skills base. Following the vote to leave the European Union, supporting UK maritime has become even more crucial to our future as an outward looking trading nation.
‘A Labour government will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to assess the surface access needs of the UK’s ports in order to build the road and rail infrastructure necessary to encourage growth in the sector. We have made a manifesto commitment to study the feasibility of port development across the UK, helping to prepare the nation for new global trade arrangements.
‘Labour will review the Maritime Growth Study and put in place a more robust set of measures that will get more UK nationals trained and committed to maritime careers, including halting self-defeating cuts to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. In addition to raising the National Minimum Wage to £10 an hour, we put an end to exploitative pay and conditions in shipping and help reverse the decline of our Merchant Navy.
‘With regards to Brexit, the UK’s exemption from EU Ports Services Regulations will be a negotiation priority alongside securing harmonisation with the EU single market in order to retain the benefits of free trade.’
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson commented: ‘We have asked all the main parties for a statement on shipping policy and Labour is the first to respond. I am sure that members will be interested in the comments made and we hope that the other parties will set out their stalls as soon as possible.’
Tuesday, May 16, 2017