Creation of waterways charity and help for small businesses are 'welcomed'

Following George Osborne’s announcement of the Spending Review announcement yesterday, the British Marine Federation (BMF) has published its views on the Government’s plans to reduce the country’s deficit.

The key announcements in the Chancellor’s statement included:


The abolition of British Waterways as a public corporation in England and Wales to create a new waterways charity
Measures to leverage significant equity investment and guaranteed lending to small businesses Commitment to support export and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI)

Rob Stevens, Chief Executive of the British Marine Federation, commented:

‘on the abolition of British Waterways, the BMF supports Defra’s decision to turn British Waterways into a new waterways charity in England and Wales, but this must take into account the needs of all who use waterways across the UK, in particular those companies who are wholly dependent on the navigation bodies to maintain the required environment in which their businesses operate. The transition must be handled as smoothly as possible, and ensure that safety is paramount.

“We already have a close and constructive working relationship with British Waterways and we will continue to work together going forward to ensure that the prime objective of this new waterways management organisation is to maintain the existing network of canals and rivers in a navigable condition.

“In order to realise the broader socio-economic benefits of the waterways, the BMF believes that there should be an appreciation for the fact that while boating and fishing licenses account for the majority of funding derived from users, many others benefit.

“Therefore the BMF believes that the funding provided to any new organisation should be sourced from all stakeholders that derive a benefit from their assets.”

Measures for small businesses

“The BMF welcomes the Government’s commitment to provide £150 million to leverage significant equity investment and guaranteed lending to small businesses. However, this is only a small fraction of what is required to support small businesses and manufacturing across the UK. Growth and increased global market share is critical to the success of the industry and it remains vital that the Government continues to encourage high street banks to lend.

“Over the next few days we will be looking in detail at the measures announced in the Spending Review to assess what affect they will have on our members. But any measure which helps to provide access to financial support and grow our members’ businesses is very welcome.”

Commitment to exports and UKTI

“The BMF welcomes the Foreign Office’s commitment to increase its focus on championing British companies to win export business, working closely with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to increase business links.

“The BMF has an excellent track record with helping members exploit export opportunities and we will continue our very close working relationship with UKTI, in this new environment, to ensure the best outcomes for members and the UK leisure and small commercial marine industry in general’