Yes, city can bounce back but it’s a long journey

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Hearing Vince Cable saying he’s confident Portsmouth can bounce back is welcome good news.

The secretary of state for business was visiting the area yesterday when he spoke out, saying he believed the city would recover from the devastating loss of hundreds of jobs with the announcement that BAE Systems is to end shipbuilding.

While we know it’s going to be a long journey from here, we can only echo his call.

Yes, the devastating news of the BAE cuts is still sinking in. But at the same time, the only way to look is forward.

And the more endorsement and positive feedback the area gets, the better.

Confidence will be a big part of turning a corner and taking the first steps on the road to a future without shipbuilding.

Of course, some will still be working in the industry with the maintenance work on the new aircraft carriers.

But that is scant consolation for those whose jobs are being lost.

Mr Cable rightly pointed out that while shipbuilding had a fantastic heritage and history, this area is home to many other highly-skilled professions.

He cites the industries of space and computer games as just two.

And perhaps most importantly, continuing to build on Portsmouth’s already hugely-successful tourism industry.

The heritage and history we enjoy – and sometimes take for granted – is something that could offer opportunities to those who have lost their jobs.

Yes, it’s a different part of the jobs market, but it’s certainly one that’s growing. So, while wishing the jobs had never been lost, that deed’s been done.

The city has its own minister in Michael Fallon and we hope that his work, along with support from colleagues like Mr Cable, can help get Portsmouth on a positive footing once again.

And it can’t happen soon enough.