THE FUTURE OF THE UK SHIPPING INDUSTRY
88. The British shipping industry is vital to this
country. Its unique contribution, and the unfair competition it
faces from abroad, means that it deserves special protection.
However, the industry is currently close to crisis. Urgent efforts
must be made to bolster the industry generally, and in particular
to increase the number of ships on the UK register, and to increase
the number of British seafarers.
89. In general, we warmly welcome the daughter document,
British Shipping: Charting a new course, which represents
an attempt to frame an all-embracing solution to the problems
facing the UK shipping industry. However, we are concerned that
only one of the Actions proposed in the document refers to additional
Government resources, and it promises only £18.6 million
over three years.
There is also no mention in the document of targets by which the
success or otherwise of the Actions can be measured. The document
also ducks the most important subject, that of the tonnage tax.
We recommend that the Government should set itself ambitious
targets and deadlines for enhancing the situation of the UK shipping
industry. There must be improvements in the number, weight and
type of vessels on the UK register, and the number, age distribution,
and quality of British seafarers. It should devote adequate resourcesrather
more than £18.6 million over three yearsto meet those
targets. Finally, it should introduce the radical and positive
fiscal measures, relating to the tonnage tax, and the Foreign
Earnings Deduction scheme, which we have described above. Only
by doing so will it reverse the decline in the UK shipping industry,
and if it does not do so the future of the shipping industry,
of the shore-based industries, including Maritime London, and
of the United Kingdom's ability to defend itself, looks extremely
191 See British Shipping: Charting a new course,
Action 6, p.27. Back