Shipbuilding jobs

Stephen Hepburn, MP for the Jarrow Constituency, has kept up the campaign for British shipbuilding jobs. 

The Government are about to procure a number of ‘fleet support ships’ for the Royal Navy. The Government has maintained that the competition to build these ships will be subject to international tender, rather than UK only as the Government has classed them as ‘non-warships’. 

But the Jarrow constituency MP is calling on the Government to make the competition to build these ships available for UK shipyards only.

These ships will be used to replenish Royal Navy warships at sea with ammunition, food and other supplies. The new ships will replace the current dry stores ships, which were built in the mid-1970s.

In questions to Defence Ministers in Parliament on Monday 26th November 2018, Mr Hepburn said: “Even at this late stage, will the Minister commit himself to withdrawing the lucrative international tender for the fleet solid support ships, which will not only cost the British taxpayer millions, but cost British jobs as well?”

In response, the Minister for Defence Procurement, Stuart Andrew, said: “The national shipbuilding strategy is there so that we do everything we can to make sure that we have an industry that is competitive not just in this country, but across the globe, and that is exactly what we are trying to do. By getting the fleet solid support ships through international competition, we can secure a good price for the British taxpayer, too.”

Stephen Hepburn MP said: “Openly advertising and encouraging international shipbuilders to win this lucrative contract at the expense of our domestic industry is a very ill-thought out decision from the Government.

“They should be doing all they can to support British shipyards, not those of other countries.

“The Government haven’t taken any account whatsoever of the value of procuring this shipbuilding contract domestically would add to the UK economy, not just in skills and jobs but in the money that the Treasury would get back through tax and national insurance.

“They could quite easily change the contact tender to UK shipyards if they wished. The claim that their hands are tied because of EU rules is nonsense.

“With a decision expected soon, I’m going to keep campaigning to press the Government to ensure that the contract is awarded to UK shipyards.”

Meet your MP

 Stephen-Hepburn-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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