Stephen Hepburn, MP for the Jarrow constituency has further questioned Government Ministers on shipbuilding jobs in the north east. 

The Jarrow constituency MP is continuing to campaign for further shipbuilding jobs in the region by pressing the government to reverse their decision to put the three new Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship contract out to international tender, rather than UK only.

He is calling on the Government to guarantee that these three new ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will be built in domestic shipyards.

Research by the Labour Party has found that securing the Royal Fleet Auxiliary contract for the UK’s shipyards would create around 6,500 jobs, with 1,800 of them in shipyards and would also support other British industries, including steel.

Mr Hepburn asked both the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps their respective departments are taking to support commercial and naval shipbuilding in the north east.

Guto Bebb, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence told the Jarrow constituency MP that “the Ministry of Defence is working with industry through the Maritime Enterprise Working Group (MEWG) to undertake a long-term programme of improvement. The MEWG's membership consists of high ranking industry members from different parts of the country, including representatives of companies based in the North East. The group's priorities include improving competitiveness and productivity in the shipyards and supply chain to help shipbuilding companies improve their capability when bidding for, both, commercial and naval contracts.”

Richard Harrington, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also told Stephen Hepburn MP that the Government are “continuing to work closely with the Maritime Enterprise Working Group tasked in the National Shipbuilding Strategy with driving up productivity and competitiveness in the supply chain and shipyards, including those in the North East.”

A report undertaken by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published last September found that for every 100 UK shipyard jobs, an additional 32 jobs would be created in the manufacturing sector within a 40 mile area.

Stephen Hepburn MP said:

“This Tory Government like to talk a good game when it comes to UK shipbuilding but the truth is that they are continuing their long-standing trend of hollowing out and closing down British industry. 

“Our region has a proud tradition of shipbuilding and it would be a betrayal of UK defence workers to simply award this contract overseas and ignore the significant impact a contract of this size could have.

"Shipyards in the UK, including A&P in the Jarrow constituency, deserve further support from the Government due to their fantastic work on the aircraft carrier and the Astute class submarine programmes.

“These proposals would both sustain existing shipbuilding and supply chain jobs, and create new ones in the north east and across the UK.”

Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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