HC Deb 22 April 2002 vol 384 cc57-8W
Mr. Lazarowicz

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK takes advantage of EU state aid guidelines to encourage national flag shipping. [50574]

Mr. Jamieson

We have introduced the tonnage tax, which has in the last two years contributed to a 61 per cent. increase in tonnage of the UK registered fleet. We have also extended and increased funding to the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme, which subsidises the costs of seafarer training, and we are committed to extending the Crew Relief Costs Scheme to cover European as well as more distant ports, when parliamentary time is available. We have already cleared the first two measures with the Commission to ensure that they comply with state aid guidelines, and will seek clearance for the third when appropriate.