Using Our New Freedoms

By John Redwood

“The government should now turn its attention to the many opportunities our departure from the bureaucratic and restrictive single market and customs union will bring.

“Let me begin with a few ideas for a better maritime strategy. The UK is a global trading nation with a proud history of maritime success. The EU Ports Regulations have cramped the expansion of our harbours and docks. The Common Fishing Policy led to a big decline in our fishing fleet and fish processing. A combination of EU and UK rules led to a big decline in international marine owners using our flag for their merchant ships. During the EEC/EU years we witnessed a major decline in shipbuilding.

“We could now set about rebuilding by

1. Repeal Ports Directive. Offer planning permissions and other support for dock and harbour expansion.

2. Offer Freeport status to many coastal towns, with simplified planning and tax breaks for new investment in those areas. Allow non payment of VAT on items for re export.

3. Add an Enterprise Zone to such ports, with additional tax breaks from Business rates and from Corporation Tax on investment.

4. Government to offer grants and cheap loans to U.K. citizens and businesses wishing to buy a new trawler made in a U.K. yard, to expand fishing capacity.

5. UK to order all public sector vessels from UK yards assuming there were at least 2 compliant UK tenders for the work. UK to strengthen Customs and naval fleets of coastal patrol vessels.

6. UK to review rules over sailing under our flag

to encourage more to use our flag and related marine service, without lax employee standards. We should also look at requiring ships trading in our waters to comply with high standards for employees and safety.

7. Government to assist coastal towns and cities wanting growth to attract more fish processing, meal preparation and frozen and chilled foods business. Good quality new housing investment to go alongside new industrial and marine activities.

8. Private sector will bring ship repair, chandlery and support services as these policies are implemented.

And if our freedom is to mean anything, just do it!

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