‘Substantial funding’ is needed

HELP Gerald Vernon-Jackson
HELP Gerald Vernon-Jackson

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council is demanding the government provides more help for the city to counteract the damage done by the loss of military shipbuilding

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson says the council is preparing to write to the government asking for more mitigating measures to help skilled workers who will lose their jobs and keep the city thriving.

The council, along with the city of Southampton, is negotiating with the government over a City Deal which could see millions injected into industry here.

But Cllr Vernon-Jackson says this money should not be used as a sweetener in the wake of BAE’s announcement.

He said: ‘We have been very clear the City Deal is not mitigation.

‘We want to talk to them about getting something else in place.’

An announcement on the Portsmouth-Southampton bid for a City Deal is expected soon.

The two cities made their joint bid last January.

David Williams, the chief executive of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘We urge the government to provide substantial funding to support affected workers as soon as possible.

‘We need immediate support from government to help affected workers.

‘We want to make sure it is used to keep vital skills in the area, help skilled people transfer to other jobs, or enable workers to retrain for the engineering jobs of the future.

‘But it’s important to point out Portsmouth and the wider area are not facing decline. There is huge investment coming into the area.’