COMMENT: It's great to head into Easter on a positive note

Isn't it great to head into Easter on a positive note? The weather's nice and with the easing of restrictions, friends and family can look forward to finally meeting up again in parks or gardens over the bank holiday weekend.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:00 am

But that's not all we've got to feel good about here in Portsmouth right now. Today's front page trumpets the brilliant news that hundreds of jobs in the dockyard have been safeguarded.

Major local employer BAE Systems has won two big contracts from the Ministry of Defence that will see it remain at the heart of Portsmouth Naval Base for years to come.

The company is to continue to look after the entire naval fleet, including the new aircraft carriers HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth. It will also join forces with tech firm KBR to modernise the naval base’s facilities and dockyard services.

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We should all be delighted that naval maintenance is to stay in Portsmouth. We have a long, proud tradition and a reputation that has been hard-won.

This £1.3bn deal is obviously cause for celebration at BAE Systems. It and its legacy companies have supported the navy here for more than 20 years.

But it could also end up helping to boost smaller firms across the Solent area because the plan is to call them in when needed to help with key projects.

There is so much maritime expertise in this part of the world and it's great to think these companies will be involved in delivering world-class work.

The five-year deal also means BAE Systems has the security to be able to plan ahead and invest in Portsmouth, with all that means for the local economy.

It's been described as a 'launch pad' for more money to be spent on the naval base, including on green initiatives.

We look forward to these developments and to seeing BAE Systems' relationship with the city and the navy going from strength to strength.