Union leaders have welcomed the response from the prime minister.
Gary Cook, the GMB regional organiser, said the response was ‘more than we could have asked for’.
‘This is the government saying it is willing to do all it can to protect the shipyard,’ he said. ‘That means to me that the government must have had a conversation with the Ministry of Defence about the shipyard and this means the shipyard will be open for new business.
‘This is something we have been trying to find out. It’s an interesting development as far as I am concerned.
‘I am delighted the prime minister has pledged to protect the future of the shipyard and the livelihoods of the people who work there.’
John Ferrett, a negotiations officer for the Prospect Union, met the prime Minister’s letter with caution.
He said: ‘While I welcome his comments, we can’t build ships without workers.
‘I note he doesn’t give any commitment to meet BAE Systems and get it to change its mind and explore a solution which enables naval ships to be built in three yards. We would like to sit down with the prime minister, Michael Fallon and Philip Hammond and present this solution to them.’