MORE warship maintenance work should be brought to Portsmouth to make up for the loss of shipbuilding, an MP has said.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has called for more maintenance and repair work on the Royal Navy’s frigates and destroyers to be done in the city.
It comes after the announcement earlier this month that BAE Systems would stop shipbuilding in the city next year, with the loss of 940 jobs.
BAE Systems has two main arms to its Portsmouth operation – shipbuilding and maritime services.
As reported in The News, it is the shipbuilding division which is looking to pull out of Portsmouth and move its operations to Scotland.
The maintenance and repair arm will remain.
Mr Hancock said: ‘We need to look at ways to get more maintenance work here to help the workforce.
‘There are packages of work which could be brought to Portsmouth and this is where maintenance on ships should be done.’
Mr Hancock is also calling for the navy’s future Type 26 frigates to be based in Portsmouth, providing another boost to maintenance work.
The frigates are expected to be ordered by the government next year.
Alongside the announcement of BAE Systems’ closure, the government announced £100m would be given to the city for infrastructure at the naval base to be built in preparation for the two new aircraft carriers which will be based here.
It is expected that some of that cash will be spent on new caissons, which seal the entrance to docks around the base.
Mr Hancock added: ‘It also makes sense to me that the new caissons are built in Portsmouth.
‘That would give the yard something else to do and it makes perfect sense because that’s where they’re going to end up.
‘It would be better to build them here than to get them in from somewhere else.’
Meanwhile, Portsmouth City Council has backed an online petition set up in the fight to keep shipbuilding in the city.
People are being invited to show their support by signing the e-petition on the government’s website.
When a petition there reaches 100,000 signatures, the issue is debated in Parliament.
To sign the petition, visit tinyurl.com/saveshipbuilding.