Hampshire executive warns of damages payout over shipyard closure

Cllr Sean Woodward
Cllr Sean Woodward
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A SENIOR HAMPSHIRE County Council official has warned that the closure of BAE Systems’ Portsmouth base now could lead to millions of pounds worth of damages being paid out.

Councillor Sean Woodward, the county’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, said there is a £230m deal in place for BAE Systems to carry out shipbuilding in the city on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

He believes that if it’s axed immediately then the Ministry of Defence will have to pay off what’s outstanding.

‘What’s interesting is the knock-on effect this will have with the MOD, who have got a £230m a year ship building contract and the amazing thing seems to be if BAE pulls out, then the MOD would have to pay BAE Systems.’

He’s also concerned about the knock-on effect a closure would have on small businesses who provide parts for the shipbuilding part of the business.

Cllr Woodward, who is also a member of The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, said he would support the government providing a big financial package to the city because it’s something members asked Vince Cable for earlier in the year.

‘We were told at the time no decision had been made yet,’ he said.

‘It’s what we wanted, so what we will now be doing is seeing what the government will put in place.’