The News’ comment: We must make haste slowly to find a solution

It’s time the county side returned to this city

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TIME is what we need, and time is running out.

Despite the threat of a shipyard closure looming over dockyard workers for more than 18 months, the bitter announcement still came as a shock to most.

That is evidenced by the overwhelming sense of anger, frustration, and betrayal felt by those it hits hardest.

But nobody can harness the passion of a city like the people of Portsmouth.

Even as workers and their families are still coming to terms with an uncertain future, the city is rallying to their cause.

On the surface, it may seem as if there is no united front on what should happen next.

Trade unions are rightly looking to their workers before deciding on a course of action.

Politicians in the area are talking to the government and to the firms involved about what can be done to buy more time.

Organisations that represent small businesses are trying to fathom what help they can possibly give when the inevitable knock-on effects hit the supply chain.

And those best qualified are offering education to any workers who will lose out.

Meanwhile, thousands of people are finding an outlet for their frustration over the decision to halt shipbuilding in Portsmouth by signing up to a campaign to save the yard.

Would a fight to reverse the decision win out in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition?

Should we instead be turning our attention to building a newer, better, vision for Portsmouth?

It is simply too early to tell.

What we need is more clarity on what help there is for the city.

What are the options for the shipyard as we go forward?

What will be the outcome of talks between BAE Systems and their workers?

And what help can the government offer us which is more meaningful than the offers of money already promised?

These questions will be answered in the fullness of time, but time is not a luxury we have.

That’s why our front page today calls for urgent action to buy the city some breathing space to carve out a plan for its future.

What is important is that we work hard to make the best of what is irrefutably a devastating blow to the city.

But as has been proved time and time again, the people of Portsmouth know how to rise to that challenge.