Multi-million pound package to offset BAE shipbuilding closure in Portsmouth

WORK Sections of the HMS Prince of Wales, being joined together at BAE Systems' shipbuilding bay within Portsmouth Naval Base.
WORK Sections of the HMS Prince of Wales, being joined together at BAE Systems' shipbuilding bay within Portsmouth Naval Base.

Government sells off HMS Ocean for £84m

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A MULTI-MILLION pound package of measures could be put in place to offset the effects of shipbuilding being axed in Portsmouth, The News can reveal.

Portsmouth City Council could be given more than £200m to unlock land owned by the Ministry of Defence at Tipner and at Horsea Land.

The plots could be used to build thousands of new homes and create businesses attracting thousands of new jobs.

A board of maritime experts could be hired and their expertise would be used to help transform the yard.

Defence giant BAE Systems is to consult on 1,775 potential job losses across its naval ships business. Around 940 roles are under threat in Portsmouth during 2014, and a further 835 in Scotland.

However the site could remain open for repairs and maintenance.

Defence secretary Philip Hammond will discuss the government’s situation in Parliament at around 12.30pm, where it’s expected he will talk about the number of benefits that will come Portsmouth’s way.

BAE Systems may cut more than 1,000 in total between Portsmouth and the Govan and Scotstoun yards in Glasgow.

It is understood that repair and maintenance facilities in the city will be upgraded in a bid to mitigate job losses.

However Hampshire’s Chamber of Commerce said BAE’s decision would be ‘devastating’ for Portsmouth.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has said the loss of shipbuilding would be a ‘bitter blow’ to the city.

It is believed Type 26 warships will be built in Scotland.

BAE Systems Maritime Services employs about 1,500 people from Portsmouth and the surrounding area at the city’s naval base.

Both the Scottish and Portsmouth yards are tasked with building the Royal Navy’s two new Portsmouth-based aircraft carriers.

But the next major project is the Type 26 frigates and work on them is not due to start until later this decade.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘The two things I will be discussing with BAE Systems are going to be, what does this mean for the shipbuilding workers, how many are going into maintenance and how many will be found other work in the company.’

Addressing the announcement that the shipbuilding division will cease by the end of 2014, she said: ‘That implies that they are not planning on making, if any, new work on Offshore Patrol Vessels in Portsmouth.

‘But that’s what I want to discuss with BAE Systems.

‘I would expect a major financial package to be put in place to regenerate other sectors in the dockyard.’