ASSURANCES have been made by the minister for Portsmouth that bids being considered for the city’s shipyard include some from shipbuilding firms.
Matthew Hancock has revealed three offers have been short-listed by the government and among them are ones from companies wanting to construct vessels in Portsmouth.
It is a step forward in the fight to retain skilled shipbuilders in Portsmouth – and comes after the prime minister said he would help to bring the industry back to the city.
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I am delighted that we have got a choice on the table which does include the continuation of some form of shipbuilding for the BAE yard. I expect the decision to create between 200 to 300 jobs.’
While the deadline for applications has passed, The News understands a shipbuilder has made a late entry and the rules may be relaxed to include them in the running. The government says should a shipbuilder win a contract for the yard, the work it does will not be on the same scale as BAE Systems.
The defence giant announced last November it was going to transfer its shipbuilding division to the Clyde, in Scotland, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth is one of three sites being considered for a new composite manufacturing site, which could bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
Cllr Jones, who pushed for an application on behalf of the city to be submitted, hopes that will still come to light should any shipbuilding bid fall down.
A decision on the yard’s future could be made around the time of the government’s Autumn Statement on December 3.
A spokesman for the minister for Portsmouth said: ‘Whilst we cannot confirm the specifics because of commercial sensitivities, we are doing everything we can to ensure Portsmouth stays at the cutting edge of the marine and maritime sector.
‘A number of expressions of interest have been received, including from shipbuilding firms.’