MP Alan Mak has backed the Government’s new National Shipbuilding Strategy as a way of creating local jobs in the Havant area.
The new plans unveiled by the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon will see a transformation of maritime industry and an increased role for SMEs around the country.
The strategy for the new Type 31e frigate will duplicate the successful approach used during the construction of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers. These were built using a modular system, with parts constructed all over the country before being assembled in a central location at the Rosyth dockyard on the Clyde.
The increased competition of using this system has given the chance for SMEs to bid for smaller contracts. Havant-based businesses were heavily involved in the Queen Elizabeth project with Lockheed Martin building the new F35B joint strike fighter jets that are housed on the vessels and Wartsila crafting the diesel generators that power both carriers. Engineers Long and Marshall based in New Lane were also involved in producing parts for the fighter jet runway.
In addition, the Type 31e is also earmarked for export, potentially further leading to an economic boost for the local area.
Mr Mak said: “Havant has a proud maritime heritage and this new decision by the Government to open up the shipbuilding industry could provide a boost for our SMEs. Introducing more competition to the shipbuilding industry will not only help bring down the overall cost of our new frigates but help create new jobs by giving our successful maritime businesses the chance to bid for MoD contracts.”
Responding to Mr Mak in the House of Commons, Sir Michael confirmed that he planned to make it easier for SMEs to become part of the supply chain of the major shipbuilding yards.
He said: “Portsmouth and the surrounding area now enjoys the challenge of completing the final fitting out of the two carriers and making sure they are properly maintained and serviced. But there may well be further opportunities in the Havant area and I remember the sector report that was done for that area for the Solent Local Enterprise partnership specifically drew attention to the maritime strengths of that region so I hope they too can get involved.”
Picture: Alan Mak MP with the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon