The House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities has been investigating the drivers and solutions for economic and social challenges in communities all around the UK’s coast, recognising the unique characteristics of such communities such as decline of traditional industries and their geography. They have today (Thursday 4th April) published their findings.
UKMPG was pleased to be able to provide written evidence of the very positive role played by ports in driving jobs, prosperity and opportunity in these regions, and the ways that investment could be further increased. Our CEO was also pleased to appear as a witness to the Committee.
Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group and one of the witnesses called by the inquiry, commented “We welcome today’s report. A number of the recommendations are strongly supported by major ports. The recommendations on reducing planning restrictions for ports and surrounding area development and tailoring Enterprise Zones more towards the needs of coastal communities offer the potential to boost significant private sector in these areas. Other recommendations on improved transport and digital connectivity, skills development and better cross-Whitehall coordination offer the potential to really unlock the potential the UK’s Coastal Powerhouse.”
UK Major Ports Group members collectively invest more than half a billion pounds in the UK each year. At more than double the rate of depreciation, that’s a substantial and growing contribution to the UK’s infrastructure, principally in coastal areas . Through this investment they are key catalysts for jobs and investment in the UK’s coastal communities – regions which can too often suffer from high levels of economic and social hardship .
This catalytic effect is not just in the ports themselves – where the jobs are not only more productive but also often significantly better paid than local averages. It is also in the surrounding hinterlands as ports develop their broader estates and local land for productive use – logistics parks, fulfilment centres and manufacturing facilities. The wider infrastructure development – such as road and rail connectivity – made to support port development can also open up a range of more general economic and business activity for coastal communities. Each pound spent on a road scheme connecting a port can add more than four pounds of value for the wider local economy through improving conditions for business and tourism.