Portsmouth 'flourishing' amid boost for jobs and economy in BAE multi-million deals

CITY leaders have said Portsmouth is 'flourishing' as a multi-million pound contract was awarded to a defence giant for boat maintenance.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 8:13 am
A ship builder works on a section of the first of two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers at BAE Systems in Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Portsmouth North MP and former defence secretary, Penny Mordaunt, reacted a BAE Systems was handed a £112m contract from the Ministry of Defence to support and maintain 650 boats.

The contract will see 25 extra jobs at the naval base and will maintain the current workforce. Vessels from the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Ministry of Defence Police, Army and Royal Marines are all included.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Portsmouth continues to flourish as a home for defence innovation, manufacture and services.

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‘I’m pleased at further announcements which will give further stability and confidence to BAE Systems and their suppliers.’

The boost will maintain shipwrights and mechanical and electrical fitters at BAE Systems’ Maritime Services in Portsmouth Naval Base. Its existing team will grow by 50 per cent.

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It is excellent news.

‘It gives more confidence about jobs in the city.’

Back in 2013 BAE Systems cut nearly 2,000 jobs and ceased shipbuilding in Portsmouth. In 2017 the defence firm announced it needed to shed 1,915 jobs cut across the country with 160 jobs axed in the city.

But BAE Systems products and training services director, Dr Brooke Hoskins, said the contracts mark an important new chapter.

Dr Hoskins said: ‘We have an excellent team and a proud heritage of small boats expertise so securing these important new contracts in a highly competitive environment is fantastic news, particularly for local jobs.

‘Our success in securing these contracts will enable us to continue to invest and to innovate, and to help the UK’s armed forces do the important, challenging and often dangerous jobs we ask them to do.’

Defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan added: ‘Our armed forces rely on having the finest kit available and this multi-million-pound contract ensures the thousands of vessels used across the entire British military will be maintained and repaired to the exceptionally high levels demanded by our service men and women.’