Experts from the UK’s crucial maritime sector compared the Department for International Trade (DIT) to a dentist trying to fly a plane and claimed it is in a worse state now than when it was set up nearly two years ago.
The specialists said a lack of resources and poor prioritisation had put UK’s ambition to become a global trading nation after Brexit under threat.
Maritime UK chief Ben Murray blasted Liam Fox and said he believes there is a “chronic lack of direct industry experience” in his department.
He said: “While the department has taken steps to take on a new crop of Trade Commissionaires in response to the increased workload, a huge percentage of these are career civil servants.
“How can we possibly expect individuals who have spent their lives outside of the industry to understand the real requirements of UK business wanting to sell overseas?
“How can they be relied upon to make day-to-day decisions on how to deploy scant HMG funds to UK companies?
“They may well be honest hardworking civil servants but in what way are they qualified to do this?
He added:“You wouldn’t expect a dentist (despite how qualified they were) to fly a Boeing 747!”
Maritime UK represents nearly a million jobs in the UK, and contributes £40billion to the UK economy.
However, despite moving 95 per cent of Britain’s international trade, Liam’s fox department has only one full-time member of frontline staff overseeing preparations ahead of Brexit.
In distinction, the creative sector has 15 supporting staff.
Back in 2017, Liam Fox said Britain’s maritime industries would become “more important than ever” in the period following Brexit.
Mr Fox described the UK as a great place for maritime businesses, thanks to its attractive tonnage tax offering, low corporation tax rates, and the general ease of doing business here.
He said at London International Shipping Week: “The UK’s maritime industry brings billions of pounds a year into our economy and will be vital to our continued prosperity when we leave the European Union.
“As an international economic department, our ambition is that we lead the way in world-class shipbuilding and maritime technology.”