Shadow Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald MP and Shadow Skills Minister, Gordon Marsden MP, addressed The Maritime Reception at Labour Party Conference on Sunday evening.
The reception, organised by Maritime UK, was held on Brighton Pier during the party’s annual conference. At the conference, Labour’s key announcements included multi-billion-pound plans for new offshore windfarms, investment in coastal communities and a new ‘green industrial revolution’.
During The Maritime Reception, the Shadow Transport Secretary said that a “Labour government would be committed to working with the maritime sector to strengthen our role as a leading maritime nation.”
Mr McDonald focused on decarbonisation, saying: “One of my key objectives is to reduce carbon emissions across transport, so warmly welcome industry’s establishment of Maritime Research & Innovation UK”. He also welcomed industry’s recent commitmentto decarbonisation across the sector.
Referring to Maritime UK’s Coastal Powerhouse campaign, Mr McDonald, who is MP for Middlesbrough said, “Labour welcomes the industry’s#CoastalPowerhousecampaign, and maritime has a real opportunity to boost the economies of our coastal communities.” Referencing industry’s ten-point plan to drive growth in coastal communities, he said, “We want to help unlock private investment in ports by looking at planning changes to support the Coastal Powerhouse.” He also stressed the need to deliver against the priorities identified within the Port Connectivity Study.
McDonald paid tribute to the Royal Navy for their role in protecting merchant shipping, particularly in the Strait of Hormuz.
Gordon Marsden, a former Shadow Maritime Minister, spoke about the sector’s future skills needs and increasing digitisation. He welcomed Maritime UK’s focus on supporting both the employer and employee interests. He stressed the importance of lifelong learning, including the ability for people to move between different parts of the maritime sector throughout their career. He paid tribute to the work of Fleetwood Nautical Campus, based near to his Blackpool South constituency.
Mr Marsden welcomed Maritime UK’s new #MaritimeCareers campaign and the work of the Women in Maritime Taskforce. He said that Labour would be setting out its plans on skills and education very shortly and would work with industry to ensure the closest of partnerships between employers and educational providers.
Other speakers at the reception included Maritime UK Chair, Harry Theochari, and the Harbour Master at neighbouring Shoreham Port, Julian Seaman. The Maritime UK Chair shared the key findings from its new ‘State of the maritime nation’report, which shows that the industry contributes £46.1bn to UK GDP, supports over 1,000,000 jobs and delivers productivity 42% higher than the national average.
The Maritime Reception at Conservative Party conference is being held on Sunday, 29 September.