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Plan To End Shipbuilding In Portsmouth Condemned

November 6, 2013 9:51 PM

Portsmouth city council's Leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson, has reacted angrily to news that shipbuilding in Portsmouth is to end next year.

'I condemn the decision to shut down the last remaining shipyard in England with the capability to build advanced surface warships,' he said.

'This decision is bad for Portsmouth, with the loss of many highly-skilled jobs. I will be asking the city council to do everything it can to sustain as many jobs in the city as possible."

Portsmouth

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock was upset at the decision and angered at the way the news leaked.

He said: 'People in Portsmouth have lived with this hanging over their heads for a while. Now for this news to leak out so that people heard last night on the media, not from their employer or the government, is despicable.'

Mr Hancock added: 'It's a real blow, not only for the workforce and a personal tragedy for the families, but for the region as a whole and for us as a community.

Gerald Vernon Jackson and Mike Hancock agreed on the need to fight for more investment in the Naval Base and for more ships to come here for repair and maintenance.

"The Fleet Support function in Portsmouth is World Class," said Mike Hancock. "We will now fight to see more investment in the dockyard and for the support function to be concentrated here."

"Many of those working in shipbuilding have the skills needed to support our fleet," added Councillor Vernon Jackson. "We will be doing everything we can to see people and jobs retained in Portsmouth. I hope that we will see the number of jobs involved in maintaining our fleet grow and I will be hammering at ministers' doors to see that happen.

Mike Hancock took the Prime Minster and Defence Secretary to task in the House of Commons today.

"I asked the Prime Minister to implement a mitigation package for Portsmouth. We need to see investment that will keep sustainable manufacturing jobs in the city not just pay for a couple of infrastructure projects and then disappear. The much promised 'city deal' must not include clawbacks that make new development unaffordable."

"I also questioned the Defence Secretary as to why work already allocated to Portsmouth is being moved to Scotland," continued Mike.

"It is also now clear that ministers signed the contract to build the navy's new tankers in Korea when they knew there was a shortfall in work for UK shipyards. That was £450 million which could have gone to maintaing our domestic capacity. At the time I asked questions in Parliament. It has since emerged that Italian firm Fincantieri offered to build one of them at a UK shipyard. Now we we need to know why ministers gave that work away instead of spending British taxpayers money on British workers building ships for Britain" concluded Mr Hancock.