SEA BREEZES NOVEMBER 2009 • VOL 83 • NO. 767
Unfortunately our editor Captain Andrew C Douglas is unwell at present. I’m sure you will all join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. In the meantime I will be standing in for him as deputy editor.
The row over the intention of the Valuation Office Agency to impose huge backdated business rates payments on port companies is not over and indeed seems set to escalate. A group of companies affected by the imposition of these charges is said to be ready to take the Valuation Office Agency to court seeking a judicial review. The ferry giants P&O and Stena Line are thought to be involved in this group action. It seems strange that there has been no major backdown by the Government on these charges at a time of financial hardship for many port companies. The forcing through of these charges may well drive some of the smaller port companies to the wall. The official hard nosed approach by the Agency on this issue contrasts with the Governments willingness to financially ‘bail out’ some of the big banks. Our Shipping and Port industries badly need a few champions in the major political parties who have at least some basic knowledge and understanding of these industries and their importance to the British economy.
Although known about for some time it is sad to hear confirmation that the VT Group are to bow out of shipbuilding with the sale of their stake in BVT to BAE Systems. BVT a joint venture between the two companies builds warships at three UK yards. Their recent orders include the construction of the Daring Class Type 45 destroyers for the Royal Navy.
Your responses to our Questionnaire continue to flow in. Our analysis of this research will enable us to develop Sea Breezes in line with your suggestions.
Good wishes to all.
Captain Hamish A C Ross (Deputy Editor)