Report shows true value of our naval base to city

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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In a way we didn’t need a report to tell us that removing shipbuilding from this area would have a disastrous impact on our economy and our communities as a whole.

There are some things we can all work out for ourselves using nothing more than a good dose of common sense.

And anyone with a connection to Portsmouth Naval Base will already recognise that the city would be a great deal poorer if anything was to get in the way of the work carried out there.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be grateful to the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) for the work it has done on an impact assessment into the value of Portsmouth Naval Base.

While most people who live and work here understand the vital role shipbuilding plays, the decision-makers in London haven’t always appeared to be so certain.

Now there’s a report that confidently points to the fact that Portsmouth Naval Base is worth £1.68bn a year to the local economy and that it supports around 20,000 workers.

Written down in black and white is the fact that if shipbuilding was to stop in Portsmouth, it would result in a loss of nearly 4,000 jobs.

These are figures the government should ignore at its peril – and we now hope PUSH will do all it can to make David Cameron and his ministers aware of the significance of this report.

Put simply, the people of this city can’t afford to see any further reduction in shipbuilding and the government’s role as a customer means it has a vested interest in this matter.

We recognise the importance of BAE and have seen the impact concerns over the future of the naval base have had in the past.

It should now be crystal clear to all those concerned that a reduction in the naval base’s role would be disastrous and almost certainly force the government into a costly position of finding other methods of regeneration.

Rather than get to that stage, we urge our politicians to sit up and take notice instead.

There’s simply no point in closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.