In a landmark policy declaration, the Labour Party has vowed to commission the construction of all naval vessels within the United Kingdom, heralding a significant boost for domestic shipbuilding.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves announced this commitment during her visit to Babcock’s Rosyth shipyard in Fife, Scotland, the site of the ongoing construction of Type 31 frigates.

Presently, while complex warships are invariably constructed in the UK, the building of large fleet support vessels often occurs, at least partly, in foreign yards.

Representing Leeds West, Reeves toured the Assembly Hall at Babcock’s Rosyth facility, expressing her admiration for the UK’s venerable shipbuilding industry.

“Rosyth is a sterling example of our nation’s exceptional shipbuilding prowess, boasting a proud heritage, deep community ties, and a workforce that has steadfastly supported the Royal Navy for many years,” she remarked.

Criticising the incumbent Conservative government for consistently favouring foreign companies over British ones, resulting in the diversion of millions in government contracts to overseas bidders, Reeves outlined Labour’s vision for the future.

“As Chancellor, I would champion the enduring future of UK shipbuilding, focusing on domestic manufacturing and commerce. Labour intends to prioritise British industry for defence investments and set stricter criteria for external procurement. Our goal is to establish a sustainable shipbuilding pipeline to secure jobs, stimulate growth, and foster investment in the industry over the next three decades,” she elaborated.

The recent contract for fleet support vessels was allocated to a consortium, including Belfast-based Harland & Wolff, Spanish entity Navantia UK, and BMT, a ship design firm located in Bath. The construction will take place at Harland & Wolff’s facilities in Belfast and Appledore, Devon, as well as at Navantia’s yard in Cadiz.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago

Sensible at core but I hope it will not be so oppressive that the deal like the Fleet Support programme will be excluded. It’s precisely this sort of deal that gives potential for developing British capabilities and gaining state of the art capabilities. What we don’t want is any sort of scenario as happened at British Leyland where money was pumped in to simply maintain the illusion of investment when it was simply to maintain jobs, or in reality delaying their loss. That was a plague in British Industry in the 60s and 70s without any real efforts to transform… Read more »

Expat
Expat
3 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Still an issue today, I see it in the companies I deal with the more dynamic and competitive ones don’t rely on government contracts.

The problem is with these kind of statements is that UK shipbuilder now know they only have to be as good as the next UK yard. It not going to set the scene to be competitive globally or change and adopt new technologies implemented out side the UK. Its massively reduced Labour’s ability to negotiate the best deal for the MoD or the tax payers.

Jonno
Jonno
3 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I fully support any realistic attempts to regenerate navaI shipbuilding. I have always felt particularly aggrieved by Labour’s lack of investment following industrial reform, allowing a decent MG replacement for the best selling (in the USA) MGB. Dont even mention Rover; what a waste. Talk about killing the goose that laid the Golden Egg.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

Bar the Tides, they already are.
Pledge 2.5% like the Tories have and I’d be happier.

Old Tony
Old Tony
3 months ago

Well, the Tories haven’t really pledged 2.5%. in the Autumn Statement Hunt proudly announced that we would keep to the NATO 2% minimum.

I’m not making this up.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Old Tony

I know. And as they know they’re out in their ear it is pretty meaningless.
My point remains, most if not all our ships are built here, so this, while welcome, is an easy throw away.

Give us some thing solid, to ease the fears of doubters like me.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago

I’d have 2.5% as a minimum written into law for a nation of our status in the world. With the ability to rapidly increase to 3% in times of greater need.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
3 months ago

I think Cameron and Osborne already proved that with a bit of creative accounting any % can be pulled out of a hat.

I’d rather they committed to capabilities.

Expat
Expat
3 months ago

The article says a significant boost but the reality is over the past 20 years about 1% of the spend on hulls has been overseas That’s hardly significant. And placing the order for the Tankers here would have actually delayed other hulls into service, so would not have been a smart move and to make such a commitment without having done a review is not sensible. So this announcement has no real substance. The reality is a retrenchment to Europe will mean we don’t need more hulls anyway. During the term of the next government all the yards are busy… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Expat

Yes, good points. I look forward to all the Labour supporters here debunking it….Or maybe not.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Expat

Not sure ‘retrenchment’ to Europe means we will not need more hulls. Bad people are increasing a threat to sea passage choke points; the Houthi and the Red Sea being the latest example. US forces and commitment are not limitless. The european navies have to pull their weight.

Expat
Expat
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

If we’re focusing on Europe we can free up hulls as carriers won’t really be needed. Meaning no need for escorts to support them. Next year defence review could be interesting.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Expat

Interesting indeed. Maersk and Hapag-lloyd have just suspended sailings of their ships through the Red Sea.

Jonno
Jonno
3 months ago
Reply to  Old Tony

Hunt is an idiot and blind to the facts which with a war raging in Europe makes one wonder about which side he’s on.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago

Spot on Daniele, 2.5%, coupled with a sensible balanced UK/ off the shelf procurement policy, to properly equip the armed forces in a timely manner.

Challenger
Challenger
3 months ago

Have the Tories committed to 2.5%? I thought they’d only gone as far as saying they’d like to see it reach 2.5% by the end of the decade? Recently Jeremy Hunt only referred to meeting the 2% NATO target.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

Yeah, true, my error. It was never official.

Adrian
Adrian
3 months ago

Not to be pessimistic but I’d rather have foreign built ships than no shop at all, the real risk with a policy of British only is that we can only afford 2 ships instead of 4 for example

DJ
DJ
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian

When you buy from an overseas yard, all of the money goes offshore, possibly never to be seen again. You build onshore, the workers pay tax, they spend their wages onshore, the company pays tax, the companies they deal with pays tax, their employees pay tax etc, etc. The headline figure is not the final figure. Something many politicians (not necessarily the brightest group of people – the odd exception), often fail to understand. A country (or military) is not a business.

Jim
Jim
3 months ago

Funny never seen her mention any of that, surely you’ll know best though.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Do you have a link for her comments on T31 batch 2? Excellent if so.

Ian
Ian
3 months ago

The principle is sound that we need to rebuild our industrial base. But (as noted in the article) actual naval vessels are always built in UK yards anyway, and the danger is that by excluding overseas competition for support vessels we encourage that industrial base to become uncompetitive and therefore unnecessarily expensive. A better approach would be to compete the contracts internationally, but weight the scoring of the bids to heavily favour ‘onshore’ benefits such as sustaining jobs in this country. That way the UK yards will generally get the work anyway unless they start producing bids that blatantly take… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian

It’s all politico bullshit anyway, but if she is saying all RFA as well as RN work, then all she will do heap further delays and increased costs on the defence budget.

Rob Young
Rob Young
3 months ago

Yes,but will money be provided in the bids to provide tea making facilities?

Gareth
Gareth
3 months ago

Does that mean these ships will have many leeks in the galley area?

Tommo
Tommo
3 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Only on the Cardiff Gareth

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
3 months ago

So Rachel Reeves has committed Labour to something that is already happening under the Tories. WOW. What a decision that must have been. If she really wants a sound bite how about “Labour will increase defence expenditure to 2.5 per cent of GDP immediately if they win the election. 😉

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Exactly. They’re all the bloody same.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
3 months ago

👍

Tommo
Tommo
3 months ago

Yeah and In Space no one can hear your Pro Nouns , just trying too lighten up this Thread Daniele 🤣

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

She’s promising sod all Geoff, in reality she can’t until:

A, Labour are in power and know how much additional money they can borrow to blow.

B, The result of their SDSR 2025.

Anything at the moment, from any party is purely political verbal diarrhea, following the time honoured Westminster doctrine of ‘chuck as much shit against the wall as possible and something is bound to stick’

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

SDSR…shorthand for we’re doomed !😉

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago

Don’t forget Farouk, engines at the bow and stern to ensure there’s no unconscious bias as to the direction of travel …. I might have taken offence that you didn’t add that, who do I report you too???

Brom
Brom
3 months ago

And as soon as they’re in power the backsliding will begin.

” Oh well we didn’t know the state of the finances when we made the pledge so we can’t be held to it”

All politicians are the same

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Brom

Yep, all the same….

PaulW
PaulW
3 months ago

One interesting angle on this announcement is that if you build no support ships at all, you would also be building all RN ships in the U.K. So not much of an announcement really.

Mick
Mick
3 months ago

A cheap and inaccurate caricature of Labour and, by inferrence, Labour voters. They make up pretty much half the population. Surely you would prefer to change how people think based on the issues than mock them for their voting intentions? To me it is a sign of the times that politics has become reduced to taking the most extreme views on the right/left, that aren’t actually held by anyone, and tarring everyone with the same brush. It would be just as easy to paint a picture of a future Tory ship. Naval uniform changed to compulsory brown shirts. Ratings tugging… Read more »

ChrisLondon
ChrisLondon
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

In fairness to Farouk there are hard left websites I browse that are every bit as cut off from reality as right wing ones like the comments section here (please note I said the comments section, the actual articles are generally quite reasonable in both tone and content).

It is an extremist thing to construct an alternative reality where you are not extreme but everyone you disagree with is.

farouk
farouk
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

You know, not that long ago, the British were known worldwide for their acute sense of humour, – which was what my post was all about seeing as 90% of the posts on here of late have been f-ing despondent and depressing – that I was informed derived from how people coped with their lot during the war, the armed forces took that a stage further with a darker touch, but of late that has been replaced with a wonk “Oh I am offended by everything” mindset by people who wear such as a badge of honour : “Oh look at… Read more »

Mick
Mick
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

> you have no problem aligning anybody who votes conservative as a Brown shirt , goose stepping fascis No. I actually said “Both cariacatures are lazy, inaccurate, and divisive.” I’ll listen to views on the issues on both sides. I’ll agree with some and disagree with others. Labour release a statement that they will ensure all future ships are UK-built. I welcome that. I would assume that everyone on this site would do the same. Maybe not. Whether it happens or not is a different matter of course. The point of my post was that I’m fed up with politics… Read more »

farouk
farouk
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

Instead of going off on a tangent regard this, that and the other (which to be fair nobody gives a toss about) what part of me making a joke are you unable to understand. Nothing more, nothing less, the fact that you to expand on that and pull out of thin air some form of grievance which allows you play the ‘Offended ‘card, then the problem is with you and nobody else.

Mick
Mick
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

Farouk, I was not going off on a tangent. I was replying to your accusation about “glass houses”, as that was a mis-representation of what I’d written. I didn’t think that was so hard to understand. BOTH caricatures are inaccurate. Sure, I see the humour. I can laugh about it because all cliches are based on some level of truth. My point was that even when Labour makes any kind of positive defence statement (regardless of whether it will actually happen!) they are castigated as left-wing nutters. I can only imagine the comments if they’d come out and said they… Read more »

Expat
Expat
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

Not everyone welcomes these kind of statements. I’m a manufacturing engineer and I’m 100% behind UK having a competitive industrial base. Problem is without continued changes in working practices, modernisation and competent people drafting the contracts it may actually do more harm than good.
Amusingly I had someone from the Labour Party canvas me the other day. I asked what car he drove, he said VW. I asked why he didn’t drive a car made in a Britsh factory. Sadly he had no answer. He the glanced across at my UK built car outside and the conversation ended.

Last edited 3 months ago by Expat
Tomartyr
Tomartyr
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

It’d be easier to buy the “just a joke” line if you didn’t manage to work that one joke into a comment on every article published on this site since you showed up..

farouk
farouk
3 months ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Tomartyr,
I see you are still pissed off with me , after your came up to me wearing a dress and asked me my name and I replied “Unlucky”

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

I see your handler taught you a new joke.

Expat
Expat
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

The political tight and left phrases are actually inaccurate. We need to stop using them to describe British politics. People like using them because it whips up.imgames of Stalin and Hitler thus furthers their cause. Both parties are essentially Socialist tax and redistribute one is slightly more libertarian than the other. Both are gradually limiting our freedom. Both are big on central.planning. niether will do the British public any good.

Billy
Billy
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

Off topic, but I’m not sure Labour has ever secured 50% of the popular vote, so half the population they do not make up?

DNB
DNB
3 months ago
Reply to  Mick

Well and articulately said 👏👏

Jonathan Bowen
Jonathan Bowen
3 months ago

Another decision in the interests of shipyard workers not our defence forces. Unfortunately ships built in the uk tend to overrun in costs and overrun in time. Let’s hope the shipbuilders can come up to the task. We should commission new weaponry based on best value for money and speed of availability so I really hope that they can prove they are the best.

Simon
Simon
3 months ago

Maybe this comment was more aimed at the SNP? An independent Scotland wouldnt be able to build Warships for the Royal Navy

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Simon

Exactly. Good spot 🙂

Expat
Expat
3 months ago

So after the rant aimed at the contract with Harland and Wolff, her own shadow secretary of state was at Harland and Wolf that has not built a ship in decades and needs industrial knowledge from Navantia. The only reason Hilary Benn can visit H&W as shipbuilders is beause they can rebuild capability using experience from Navantia. I guess the irony will be list on those living in their confirmation biased bubbles.

Last edited 3 months ago by Expat
Expat
Expat
3 months ago

I do wonder how the next government’s defence spending will.pan out. AUKUS seems to going beyond submarines. And Labour want heavily partner with the EU. I guess we could debate if AUKUS or GCAP would have happened under the current Labour leadership. I’d like to see similar commitments on airframes to be build in the UK so Aeralis funded, GCAP funded and UK leading drone programs. Sadly it comes down to votes Shipbuilding is far more emotive than fast jets for some inexplicable reason.

BBC News – AUKUS: Radars will help counter threat of ‘space warfare’
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-67603379

https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/05/22/nato-germany-united-kingdom-defense-deal-brexit-ukraine/

DJ
DJ
3 months ago
Reply to  Expat

AUKUS was never just about submarines. If it was, US & UK would not have got onboard. It was simply the first thing on the list. These three Anglophile nations & 5 eyes members split the world into 3 segments. I see it more as an a natural progression from 5 eyes. These are the 3 that count. The other two will follow sooner or later, they have no choice.

Expat
Expat
3 months ago
Reply to  DJ

Hmm let’s see how it goes well.have a Lanour government and possibly a Republican president in the White House.

Mike
Mike
3 months ago

So we will end up with half the ships need at vast expense!! Classic politics with no budget. What Labour forgets is that most of the painters and welders are Polish!!!!!!

Jonno
Jonno
3 months ago

Q.What part of a warship closest represents Labours shipbuilding plan? A. The bilge. If they recklessly go ahead with this latest announcement maybe Navantia will break the deal and we will have to go out to tender on the carriers resupply ships all over again and the delay will cost at least 2 more years and more money. That of course would fit their plans to cut defence spending significantly. Have they committed to 2.5%? Remember it was the National Shipbuliding Plan that has resuscitated ship building under a (hated) Tory Government. Just saying the likely future of defence under… Read more »

Val
Val
3 months ago

And what did Labour do pre 2010. It was known before contracts were awarded that the RFA naval ships were going abroad and when you know this why should any UK yard bother tendering. Conlab, just don’t vote for crap like this.