Defence minister says Government is working to help Portsmouth firms grow

Defence equipment minister Philip Dunne took part in a conference at Portsmouth Naval Base with companies that are involved in ship building.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141644-4)

Defence equipment minister Philip Dunne took part in a conference at Portsmouth Naval Base with companies that are involved in ship building.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141644-4)

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THE government is doing all it can to help firms in Portsmouth grow.

That was the message sent out by defence equipment minister Philip Dunne during a visit to the city yesterday.

Mr Dunne spoke at a conference at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) wanting to learn more about available opportunities.

The event was open to companies working in the maritime sector responsible for making parts for ships as well as servicing and repairing them.

Mr Dunne revealed that all contracts for defence work worth £10,000 or more are now going to be advertised online, making it easier to see what’s available.

Prime contractors such as BAE Systems are also being encouraged to give out a portion of what needs doing to SMEs and advertise them on the internet.

Bidding for work is also being made easier by the use of online applications.

Mr Dunne also said doing work on behalf of the Ministry of Defence was a profitable one as it pays 92 per cent of invoices sent to them within five days.

‘The purpose of coming to Portsmouth was to talk to consortiums of different supply chains, such as SMEs, and inform them that we are trying to make it easier for them to do business with the MoD,’ Mr Dunne said.

‘We see SMEs as being the main source of inspiration within defence.’

The conference comes after defence secretary Philip Hammond announced a £70m deal to protect 100 engineering jobs over the next two-and-a-half years on Portsmouth.

Workers will be involved in the upkeep of the Royal Navy’s six new Type 45 destroyers.

Nicholas Warren, managing director of Burgess Marine, based at Portsmouth Naval Base, said the future was looking bright for industries despite the news that shipbuilding work is being axed in the city.

‘What the Ministry of Defence is creating is a centre of excellence to support the Royal Navy for generations to come,’ he said.

‘Opportunities like this are fantastic because it allows you to work at both a government level but also a senior level working with BAE Systems. BAE is so key to Portsmouth.’

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