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.