CITY leaders are continuing to look at how the future of Portsmouth’s shipyard can be saved.
A meeting was held between officials from Portsmouth City Council, BAE Systems and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership yesterday over the issue.
The parties have been trying to figure out how the city’s shipyard can be used in the future following BAE Systems’ decision to move naval shipbuilding duties to the Clyde, in Scotland, leaving 940 jobs at risk.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who attended the meeting, said smaller companies interested in commercial shipbuilding in Portsmouth should consider forming a joint bid.
He said: ‘I suggested that some of the people who have come forward with ideas should be put in touch with each other, to see what can be done by way of a co-operative approach.
‘Two or three people have good ideas that are fairly small but it would be good if they came together.
‘Some want to build a ship and they will need the majority of space, but there might be enough space for these people if they put a bid together.’
Mr Hancock said leaders were also looking at a proposal by a company to build a fourth Ocean Patrol Vessel in Portsmouth, which could become the catalyst for more ships to be built in the city.
But in order for that to happen, up to £100m of government money would be needed and Mr Hancock believes that should come from HM Treasury.
Although that’s seen as a substantial amount of money, Mr Hancock believes the investment would be good and attract new jobs.
‘It would be very much a naval ship, but in it’s early days it could be used as a promotional tool to show others that this is what we can produce here. There is nobody out there who will sink £100m into building that ship. It just isn’t going to be around.’
BAE Systems also revealed financial incentives were being offered to workers to ensure the programme of shipbuilding work that was allocated to Portsmouth is completed.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘There are a group of organisations that have come forward. The question is how realistic they are.
‘There are some which are quite realistic, but quite small. But there are others who need £100m of government money to even start thinking about doing anything.’
As previously reported, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt met with Chancellor George Osborne this week to brief him on companies that have shown an interest in commercial shipbuilding in the city.