Portsmouth City Council has written to the prime minister asking for a meeting to help plans for a new shipbuilding venture in the city.
It comes after a group of maritime businesses, called the Portsmouth Shipbuilding Group, are attempting to set up in the area in the wake of BAE Systems’ shipyard closure.
In the letter, David Cameron and minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon are urged to meet with the group to help find possible funding to kick-start the plan, which has a price tag of around £100m.
THE LETTER IN FULL
‘In your letter about the loss of military ship building here in Portsmouth that you sent on the 16th January 2014, you kindly said: ‘But we also want to retain shipbuilding in the city, for which there is still significant, untapped potential.’
‘Over the last few months, it has become plain to me that the only realistic way of maintaining significant levels of shipbuilding within Portsmouth is to work with a reputable company, who will need a significant level of government financial support to make this happen. My understanding is that all the serious proposals had an initial price tag of around £100M subsidy from government.
‘Since the November announcement Portsmouth Shipbuilding Group has worked as a collaboration of marine shipbuilding businesses with expertise across multiple sectors including energy, commercial and export, to create a proposal to sustain shipbuilding in Portsmouth, and have proved both the markets and opportunities this unique facility presents.
‘Please will it be possible to have a meeting with yourself, along with Michael Fallon and the Portsmouth Shipbuilding Group, so that they can understand the level of financial support available, and for Government to understand the level of economic benefit this would provide for the UK and the number of jobs it would create, to kickstart this proposal?
‘I understand that Portsmouth Shipbuilding Group need to be able to commission work by the end of March 2014 to enable plans to progress. I would therefore ask for a meeting as soon as possible with yourself so that they can understand the level of financial support available from HM Government.
‘Many thanks for your support and my particular thanks to yourselves and to Vince Cable for the decision to appoint a Minister for Portsmouth, which has been a significant boost to the city.’