Portsmouth MP hopeful £80m will be raised for Ben Ainslie HQ

Sir Ben Ainslie with fellow sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in Old Portsmouth. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141695-4806)
Sir Ben Ainslie with fellow sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in Old Portsmouth. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141695-4806)

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CITY MP Penny Mordaunt says she is confident private investment for Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup headquarters in Old Portsmouth will follow a government announcement this week.

A decision on whether Ben Ainslie Racing’s funding bid to the government for £8m has been successful is expected to be made before Friday.

And Ms Mordaunt says she is keeping everything crossed that the bid is successful. According to a report in the Sunday Times yesterday, a positive decision has already been made.

The newspaper reported ‘ministers across government are discussing how to best support the venture’.

‘It’s something that people can get very excited about,’ Ms Mordaunt said.

‘The project is obviously going to cost around 10 times to £8m asked for from government. The rest is coming from the private sector. It is going to create jobs and it is not just jobs the money will make. It is going to help build the narrative of the marine sector here. It helps build our brand and increase investment.

‘Spending £8m for a project like that and increasing jobs is excellent value for money. I hope there will soon be some progress in the dockyard and with the other things we are trying to do we will have many more opportunities in the sector.’

The Portsmouth North MP said the formation of the America’s Cup headquarters in the city would ‘put us on the map’ in the yacht and maritime sectors ‘as well as shipbuilding’.

In recent months, she has hosted a lunch at the Houses of Parliament for potential private investors.

‘People are really wanting to be associated with it,’ Ms Mordaunt said.

‘Securing this in Portsmouth really does help attract investors.

‘I know there have been some issues for some residents around The Camber. Overall the impression that I have got is even if there are some serious concerns, people living in Old Portsmouth are overwhelmingly in favour of Ben Ainslie Racing coming to the city.’

A much-anticipated decision on whether the government will be giving £8m is expected this week from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Ben Ainslie Raicing has said it will make a final decision on where its new headquarters will be once a decision is made on the funding.

The team says the building would create 90 permanent jobs and hundreds of indirectly in the area.

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