Shipbuilding industry to get boost from new navy commissions, says Government

By Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent
·2-min read

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has pledged to boost the UK shipbuilding industry with a move to bring into service support craft for Royal Navy aircraft carriers made by British-led teams.

The Ministry of Defence said plans to build three fleet support warships, set to launch in the spring of next year, will see a “significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK”.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “International companies will be invited to work in collaboration with UK firms to feed in their skills and expertise, but the successful manufacturing team must be led by a British company.

“This will have a huge impact on the local economies across the UK where shipbuilding is a prominent feature.”

Mr Wallace will use a speech on Wednesday at the Atlantic Future Forum to pledge the UK’s commitment to shipbuilding.

The Defence Secretary said: “Shipbuilding has historically been a British success story, and I am determined to revitalise this amazing industry as part of this Government’s commitment to build back better.”

Mr Wallace said the shipbuilding programme would “develop the skills and expertise for the shipyards of tomorrow”.

He said the “fleet solid support” ship initiative is expected to support hundreds of skilled jobs.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The fleet solid support warships competition will be designed to challenge the shipbuilding industry.

“The goal will be to build ships fit for the future, while boosting homegrown skills and leading to a highly competitive shipbuilding industry.

“The warships will incorporate next-generation technology with a purpose-built design and will eventually support HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales as part of the carrier strike group, which will undertake its first operational deployment next year.”

The move is expected to support a range of jobs, especially in Scotland.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The fleet solid support ship competition will build on the success of the Type 31 programme, which will be built primarily in Scotland and is expected to support 1,250 highly skilled jobs and 150 apprenticeships across the country.”