Scottish ‘yes’ vote could give Portsmouth shipbuilding industry fresh hope

Giles Babb, landord of The Blue Bell

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SHIPBUILDING could return to Portsmouth if Scotland votes for independence.

That was the view of the city’s minister Michael Fallon on a visit to Highbury College, when asked if shipbuilding would return if Scotland votes for independence he replied ‘definitely’ providing hope to those who face losing their jobs when BAE closes its operation.

Mr Fallon said: ‘I hope Scotland won’t vote for independence but if they did there are an awful lot of contracts that would need to be revisited.’

In the absence of shipbuilding however Mr Fallon stressed that commercial shipping would play a key role in maintaining the city’s maritime presence.

Capturing the lucrative cruise ship market from Southampton is one way of doing this with Mr Fallon hoping that the tourists’ money could flow into the local businesses.

‘We are looking at making it easier for commercial shipping to access the port by moving one of the pontoons which is in the way, we need to do more to open up the port,’ Mr Fallon said.

The Scottish independence referendum is on September 18.