THE two Bishops of Portsmouth have voiced their concern at reports that BAE Systems are reviewing their shipbuilding operation in the city.
They fear for the jobs and livelihoods both of those employed in Portsmouth Dockyard and businesses that depend on the dockyard for their survival.
The defence firm has confirmed that it has brought in consultants to review its shipbuilding operation – but has refused to say whether it is planning to pull out of Portsmouth.
In a joint statement today, the Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, and the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, said: ‘We are concerned about the reports that suggest BAE Systems may be reviewing their presence in Portsmouth Dockyard. If BAE Systems were to pull out, the viability of the whole dockyard could be at stake.
‘The Dockyard has been at the heart of Portsmouth for centuries, and it would be a real blow to the city if this review threatened its future. It’s not just the 3,000 people who work there and their families who would be affected, but also those other local businesses who depend on the dockyard for their survival. At a time when so many are already facing economic stress, this is the last thing they needed to hear.’