Sunday, March 29, 2009

They can't be serious...can they?

any port in a storm...

"They can't be serious, can they?", exclaimed one senior Southampton Council Officer when they saw the Governments proposals to massively increase port landing fees. As Gareth Lewis reported in Friday's Daily Echo, the huge tax rise may spell disaster for the Port of Southampton.
Southampton is particularly vulnerable is it has built its business model on the quick turnaround of larger container ships and on cruise liners which would both be liable to pay the 70% increase.
As well as the danger to jobs (over 12,000 people are employed in the ports and allied trades in and around Southampton,) the environmental consequences could be serious too as boats decant in France and then use smaller vessels to land ashore in the UK.
The cost to UK PLC will be significant as imports become more expensive and exports less competitive.
As usual, whenever this government goes anything controversial, the city's two MPs go to ground - Alan Whitehead hasn't commented publicly while John Denham uses the excuse he can't as he is a Minister.
Rest assured that as the Cabinet Member for Transport, I will be fighting the proposals vigorously, joining with industry to lobby government to withdraw these crazy plans.
I just can't believe the industy is facing a fresh attack, especially after the port rates fiasco...


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