Group decides on three targets for shipbuilding after further meetings

Deputy leader is new county chairman

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A GROUP set up to help keep shipbuilding in Portsmouth has met again in the wake of BAE’s decision to end operations in the city.

The team is part of a task force set up following the announcement earlier this month.

As a result of the meeting yesterday, the group decided three things.

Local politicians will continue to lobby ministers about getting a new Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel built in Portsmouth, along with more sections of the navy’s new aircraft carriers.

The council, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, and BAE Systems, will work with marine industry consultant Rob Stevens on the viability of current proposals for alternative uses of Portsmouth’s shipbuilding shed.

And the group will create a prospectus to show potential employers the expertise and economic benefits available if they set up at the dockyard.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It was a really positive meeting with good ideas about how we can protect jobs and preserve skills in the maritime industry in Portsmouth and across the whole of south Hampshire.

‘We will continue to build on this work over the coming months.

‘Our aim is not only to preserve jobs, but to increase employment in the maritime sector in this area.’

Another task force group brought together by the council is looking at supporting workers made redundant.

Task force members include representatives from Southampton City Council, BAE Systems, business leaders, local colleges, skills agencies, unions, the naval base, and government bodies.

The council is also backing an online petition against the shipyard closure, at tinyurl.com/saveshipbuilding.

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