Our economy is facing many challenges, but there is a huge opportunity too. Both the Government and business must be committed to make a success of our Global Britain mission. Following the G7 summit in Cornwall and with Cop26 just weeks away, the timing is right for business to feed into the development of what Global Britain really means.
An exciting new project, launched today, will help serve this goal: the Global Britain Commission. Forth Ports, alongside CEOs and other senior leaders from blue chip companies including Virgin Atlantic, Mace, Heathrow and EY, will be putting forward our ideas and extensive knowledge of business to advise the government on how to make Global Britain a reality.
As the owner and operator of two of the country’s fastest-growing logistics clusters at Tilbury and Grangemouth, Forth Ports knows how to deliver rapid productivity gains.
At Tilbury in particular, over the past decade, the Forth Ports and its customers have invested over £1bn to improve and expand their facilities — delivering two extensions to the port’s footprint at London Distribution Park and Tilbury2. This 230-acre growth has helped deliver the largest warehouse in the UK for Amazon, the country’s biggest unaccompanied freight ferry terminal operated by P&O Ferries and Britain’s biggest construction processing terminal operated by Tarmac.
We are a truly global business with an optimistic outlook, and we believe in a truly global Britain. Over the past decade, we’ve shown how long-term investment in technology and people can reap rewards. Our commitment to a new Firth of Forth Net Zero Hub in Scotland is something that aligns closely with the target of net zero, and we know this aspiration must be absolutely at the heart of what we do both as a business, and what Global Britain itself must stand for.
We will help the Government shape “Global Britain” into real policy. The Global Britain Commission will undertake a practical examination of how business can make Global Britain a success. It’s clear that significant progress has been made in terms of the dozens of international trade agreements negotiated over the past five years. There are more to come. What’s also clear is that these agreements can be one of the mechanisms through which economic growth and high value jobs can be created, not least to combat the challenges of the Covid downturn, allowing us to play our part in the recovery.
Former International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP has also joined the Commission to help bridge the gap between government and business. It is a time-limited, one-year project with clear deadlines for an interim and final report, to be presented to the government with practical steps to fulfill our aspiration of a Global Britain.
There is another important goal for the Commission: to make sure that the benefits and rewards of Global Britain are spread to every part of the UK. Sir Roger Marsh, chair of the NP11, will also sit on the Commission, as someone who works tirelessly to ensure that prosperity reaches every corner of our shores.
I am certain that the Global Britain Commission can bring the strategic and operational expertise needed, leveraging our experience of the UK economy, as well as our international focus. If we can help to define, shape and make a success of Global Britain we can make a difference, not just for business, but for every citizen in the UK and beyond.