- Devonport MP Luke Pollard says Government must build support ships in Britain.
- We risk losing skills and jobs, which will put the future of the British shipbuilding industry in jeopardy.
- Government must invest in world-leading British supply chain to grow skills base.
Today Luke Pollard, the Labour MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport welcomed the launch of the report on the National Shipbuilding Strategy. As Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Luke helped write the report alongside other MPs of all political stripes and experts in the field.
The report calls on the Government to ensure UK shipyards receive the Fleet Solid Support Ship contract so that our country retains the skills it needs to construct, refit and upgrade complex warships in the future. Once lost, these skills cannot be quickly regained and the UK’s sovereign capability to produce complex warships will suffer.
The report urges the Government to ensure the Royal Navy receives its equipment from a world-leading domestic supply chain and support structure, so the Navy can maintain its operational advantage. It also calls on Ministers to factor in revenue returned to the Treasury when scoring bids between domestic suppliers and foreign competitors and to acknowledge that many foreign shipyards receive both direct and indirect state subsidies.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“The shipyards that support our Royal Navy are not just about concrete, steel, bricks and mortar; they are about the people and skills, which must be invested in and grown over time. Although we do not build ships in Devonport, we refit them, and we need a constant stream of ships to be refitted to ensure we keep up our skills.
“The Government made a mistake in opening up the Fleet Solid Support Ship contract to international bids. We risk losing vital skills and expertise in the defence industry, which will weaken our ability to build or repair warships in the future if the contract is sent abroad.
“We should be investing in the UK’s skilled workforce. Sending such a large contract overseas while British workers are laid off in shipyards also lacks economic sense. For the sake of the future shipbuilding industry and our national security, the Government must build these ships here.”