Great news on ships, but let’s build them here

Zella had a fantastic day at Titchfield Haven and wonders what other local gems she's overlooked      Picture: Gary Taw

ZELLA COMPTON: Looking afresh at our beautiful spot in the world

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Today we can reveal the design for the Royal Navy’s next generation of frigates. These hi-tech vessels will be used across the world in combat and counter-piracy operations, and to support humanitarian missions and do disaster relief work.

This is a welcome boost for the navy in a year that has seen thousands of jobs lost and cuts across the board.

But what we really hope is that this news is the boost Portsmouth shipbuilding has been waiting for.

With a question mark hanging over its future and the potential for huge job losses, the contract for these Type 26 frigates would be just the tonic.

The £11bn budget would not only bring job security to those at BAE at the dockyard, but also a wider benefit to the community as a whole.

And as the Partnership for Urban Hampshire points out, the shipbuilding industry is worth £370m to the region.

If it dies out, there will be huge repercussions.

To have the work done here would bring a sense of security after a period of great uncertainty.

Portsmouth City Council and business leaders from across the area have said they will call on the government to make sure the ships are built and based here and we applaud that. But it should be straightforward.

As the home of the navy, there is no better or more natural place for them to be based. As defence minister Peter Luff says: ‘This ship will be the backbone of the navy for decades to come’.

Further talks as to where they will be built and based are ongoing. But surely it’s Portsmouth all the way?

Yes, there will be competition, and yes, others will stake a claim. But with an unmatched pedigree for shipbuilding, the city should be in the box seat.

And as the home of the navy, there is no better or more natural place for them to be built and based.