The head of the CSEU has warned that uncertainty and poor planning over shipbuilding could endanger 40,000 jobs.

The All Party Parliamentary Group has launched its report on the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the report can be downloaded here.

Ian Waddell, General Secretary of the CSEU, said in the recent All Party Parliamentary Group report on shipbuilding and repair:

“The Carrier Alliance brought together companies that routinely compete with each other and pooled their talents and expertise. The result was two ships that are at the cutting edge of technology, delivered at a cost that compares extremely well with the international market. The project showed what this country can do and was a showcase for the tens of thousands of highly skilled men and women who work in this iconic industry and
its supply chains.

However, that work is now coming to an end and the CSEU believes that up to 20,000 skilled jobs in shipyards and 20,000 jobs in supply chains are now at risk.

There is an urgent need for work to fill these yards. As the National Shipbuilding Strategy highlighted, an end to boom and bust contracts is the best way to ensure that critical skills are retained, and our shipyards can compete in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, rather than build on the success of the Carrier Alliance and put it to work on the next generation of ships, the UK government is seeking to build support ships for the Carrier fleet through the medium of international competition. Meanwhile, UK yards are starved of work and closures and redundancies are already starting to blight the industry.”

Chair of the APPG, The Rt. Hon Kevan Jones MP, has called on Government to “ensure the £1bn contract for Fleet Solid Support Ships is handed to British yards in order to preserve UK’s capability to design and construct warships in the future”.

Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan states that “with the appointment of my Rt. Hon friend Penny Mordaunt as Defence Secretary, this is the ideal time for the Government to reconsider its current position and signal to the private sector that the Government is committed to providing a steady stream of work to UK shipyards and the supply chain.”

Based on evidence from experts in the field, the report also calls on the Government to ensure domestic yards receive the Fleet Solid Support Ship Contract in order to retain the skills needed to construct, refit and upgrade complex warships in the future.

The report states that the industry is already facing significant redundancies as the aircraft carrier programme runs down, with the subsequent loss of leading-edge skills. Once lost, these skills cannot be quickly regained and the UK’s sovereign capability to produce complex warships will suffer accordingly, as will the UK’s ability to project naval power.

The APPG states that “it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure the Royal Navy receives its equipment from a leading-edge supply chain and support structure and is therefore able to maintain its operational advantage”.

The report further calls on the Government 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.

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Personally I am not a great believer in doing everything in-house. Nato nations need a shed load of equipment and it would make sense to agree who is going to specialise in which area and concentrate on making the very best kit in quantity and make savings on scale. The needs of the country’s defense should be driving ship building not the unions. If we did that everyone would probably be complaining we can’t train people up fast enough.

Harry Bulpit

Probablem with that is historical and certainly presently America expects and wants everything. So they take all the counteracts. Can’t rely on the EU since we’ll their the EU and France has always been as bad as America.


Yes Harry just a little blue sky thinking. Sometimes peoples interests are aligned. With Trump in the White house (love him or loath him) he like a deal and therefore just possibly things might change.


Yes less toss out our fellow brits on the job scrapheap and give our tax money to foreigners.


I don’t think you are seeing the bigger picture GWM. This is just me thinking how it might work if we could persuade politicians and workers across NATO (and say the Aussies etc.) to produce more (efficiently) for the same cost & effort. A steady stream of work and product for everyone at a reasonable cost. Your response highlights to me exactly why it can never work.


I don’t see that ever happening mark, you would effectively be sending what are highly successful companies in many countries down the pan by saying their specialist work can now only be done in another country by a competing foreign firm. The uproar the politicians would face would be too much for them to handle. I personally think our ship building is in a good place providing they get some steady orders. Our ship building companies have streamlined because of the low orders and are almost competitive now despite surviving on very small numbers, and the vessels being built seem… Read more »


I am suggesting the UK stick to what it is good at i.e. carriers, escorts etc. Partnership countries might be much better in totally different area. We buy from them and they buy from us but only where it makes sense for both sides to do so. Supply ships are maybe one area we don’t want to specialise in.


I’ve worked in industry all my life for a global company and my experience is each country protects its own apart from ours.No big picture to be seen if we can build it here we should if not then to the lowest bidder.


So we built the carriers and that lead to this highly skilled workforce part of which ended up building an overpriced OPV that had so many faults it failed see trials and had to undergo extensive rework, go figure. Unions as I recall weren’t very vocal on the subject. Are they interested in delivering quality ships to Navy or just maintaining membership and making political statements.


Expat – I believe that BAE blamed subcontractors that had been given the final outfitting work for the faults.


So part of the highly skilled 20,000 in the supply chain?


I think the implication was that it wasn’t any of their skilled workers that were to blame, but who knows?

Mr Bell

The UK should state the MARS ships are military warfighting vessels. They should only be built in the UK. Other nations would never farm out their precious ship building to other nations benefit. Ditto the littoral warfare ships. They should be based on tide class tanker hulls and running gear and built in UK. 2 of these ships initially but if RFA Argus about to be scrapped then a 3rd hull as primary casualty receiving ship and air training will be required. The type 26 unit cost must have come down. Therefore order back upto 12-13 hulls. Then just 6… Read more »


Mr Bell We should build them here, the NSS is all about drumbeat and despite the fact I keep getting accused of fantasy fleets, my plan to have an 80 ship fleet (inc RFA) and a massive investment in smaller enabling systems, does mean we have the capability to have a steady drumbeat A bit like the foreign aid budget, the UK is more interested in being seen meeting targets or agreements than actually doing the right thing, this has to stop. Our Foreign aid budget could help build 3 humanitarian aid ships (tide class amphib in all but name)… Read more »