Beverley and Holderness MP, Graham Stuart, has paid a visit to a local success story at Paull Boatyard to see some of its seafaring projects in action.
Guided by Managing Director Rolly Hudson, the shipyard reopened to repair and refit boats and barges in September 2020 and took on its first boat, the Wyre Lady, the following month. Its 153-foot slipway, capable of taking barges up to 200 feet long, is possibly the last on the Humber.
The rebooted boatyard comes with engineering, joinery and fibreglass workshops, and the company also specialises in carpentry, meaning it’s able to take on projects from wide beam to narrowboats and anything from full-scale ripping out and refitting to small restoration jobs.
Although Mr Hudson, who has enlisted his wife Joanne and daughter Eleanor as business partners, admits that the venture has been made more challenging by the pandemic, he told his local MP that the boatyard owes some of its success to the rescue grants and other support provided by the Government to help businesses affected by the pandemic-induced economic slowdown.
The Government has spent around £400 billion on its Covid-19 support package according to the National Audit Office, including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts, and the furlough and self-employment support schemes. The Government has also repaid the cost of COVID-related Statutory Sick Pay to businesses with under 250 employees.
Graham said, “It was great to visit Paull Boatyard and see the fruits of Rolly’s and his family’s hard work. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to set up a business at the best of times, never mind in the midst of a pandemic, so hats off to the three of them for the set-up they’ve got here.
“It’s good to hear that the Government’s grants and loans went to good use and helped support a business which is now growing the local economy and helping other businesses in the supply chain.”
Many businesses have been able to qualify for a holiday on their business rate payments throughout the pandemic and are now eligible for a two-thirds cut until the end of March. In total, the relief was worth almost £12 billion in the 2020/21 financial year while the business rates multiplier has since been frozen, a tax cut worth £4.6 billion over the next five years.
Mr Hudson also confirmed that his company made use of the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme, through which businesses could borrow between £2,000-£50,000, interest-free in the first year. In total, BBLS supported over 1.5 million businesses with almost £50 billion of loan funding.
Mr Hudson added, “It was with the help of the rate grant and the Bounce Back Loan that we were able to take on this project, along with Rix Shipping, the owners of the yard, who gave us help with the rent and lease.
“We were told the slipway would never work again, but we got it working 12 months after taking it on and our first boat was 156 feet long. In future, the idea is for smaller businesses to use the yard as a base so they can grow and take on more people and apprentices.”