The UK Government has announced a new scheme set to assist ship buyers in obtaining financing to purchase UK-built vessels or improve existing ones, with the aim of benefitting Britain’s coastal towns.
The government would act as a guarantor for lenders under the Shipbuilding Loans Guarantee Scheme (SCGS), allowing maritime enterprises to secure loans.
The scheme is expected to boost the UK shipbuilding industry, increase employment and drive growth in areas such as Liverpool, Plymouth, the Solent, Rosyth, Clydebank and Belfast.
Marco Forgione, director general of the Institute of Export & International Trade, emphasised how this new initiative will boost job security across the UK maritime sector: “The UK remains home to a flourishing, dynamic and innovative maritime sector. This scheme will help support coastal communities and those with a strong shipbuilding history to continue to grow and develop high-skilled jobs for the future.
“The industry already supports 42,600 jobs right across the country and adds £2.8bn ($3.6bn) to the UK economy, which is estimated to grow by up to 45% in the next decade.”
To promote offers of funding to UK vessel owners and operators, the SCGS will guarantee a percentage of the value of loans used to acquire, refit, retrofit or repair boats, sharing the risk with lenders.
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Industry Minister Nusrat Ghani formally launched the scheme at an event onboard a Thames Clippers’ boat and stated: “Shipbuilding is an integral part of the UK’s industrial identity and through this scheme, we are backing our great maritime businesses to get ahead of the competition.
“With cutting-edge vessels designed and built here in the UK, this will be a boost to high-skilled careers and every company involved in the supply chain for shipbuilding, helping us to grow the economy.”