Fund launched to help firms affected by shipyard closure

Doug Morrison

Doug Morrison

Proud members of the ship's company watch as the giant warship inches her way to sea for the first time. From left, Able Seaman (AB) Natasha Elford, AB Layton Toward and AB Richard Mead

HMS Queen Elizabeth begins the long voyage to Portsmouth

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A fighting fund of £7m, designed to help companies affected by the closure of shipbuilding in Portsmouth, has been announced.

The new fund is being finalised by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, which had already offered £7m of funding support through its Solent Futures scheme, and its Growing Places fund, which will now be encouraging bids from affected businesses that are looking to protect jobs or are seeking financial support to diversify.

In total, that means £14m will be available to companies.

As reported in The News, the £4.7m Solent Futures fund is specifically aimed at companies in the BAE Systems supply chain, and the £3m Growing Places fund as designed to support growth.

Doug Morrison, chairman of the Solent LEP, said: ‘The time to act is now.

‘We have to respond to the news quickly and positively and I believe with the development of this funding package that’s exactly what we are doing.

‘Together with our partners, we are looking to give local people and businesses the tools they need to pick themselves up and create new opportunities.

‘It’s an investment in the economy of tomorrow and I am confident that this funding will be just the start of the help we can offer.’

In addition to delivering the £14m support package, the Solent LEP is now actively working with other businesses and organisations across the Solent to help mitigate the job losses announced yesterday.

It will join a so-called task force being created by central government which will play a key role in limiting the impact of the closure on the Solent economy.

Further detail on the remaining fund launches, and outcome of efforts to secure further money, will be announced shortly.

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