Concerns for shipbuilding future as MoD halts new frigate programme
A NEW series of naval frigates has been put on hold indefinitely by the Ministry of Defence, it has been confirmed.
The acquisition of new Type 31e frigates was abruptly terminated, with the MoD putting it down to a lack ofÂ compliant bids.
Intended to replace the Type 23s, the 31e frigates were part of a national shipbuilding strategy, and would have been built at a number of commercial shipyards in the UK, just like HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the nation's two new aircraft carriers, which will be based in Portsmouth.
It had not been announced where the Type 31e class frigates would be based, but some were expected to come to Portsmouth.
The move has been criticised by trade union GMB, which has described the decision as a '˜body blow' to shipbuilding communities.
National officer Ross Murdoch said: '˜This is a real body blow to many shipbuilding workers and their families the length and breadth of the UK.
'˜Some are already seeing significant redundancies as the carrier programme runs down, while others are in shipyards with a distinct lack of future orders meaning they will see nothing but a gloomy future ahead.
'˜The renaissance in shipbuilding and the steady drumbeat of orders rhetoric from this government are proving to be hollow words as far as our members are concerned.'