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UK shipbuilding sector set for £4bn investment
The government has launched a refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy to revitalise the UK’s world-renowned shipbuilding industry, with a commitment to provide more than £4bn of government-wide investment for the shipbuilding sector across the next three years. More than 150 new naval and civil vessels are set to be delivered through the strategy across the next 30 years.
During a visit to Cammell Laird shipyard in Merseyside, the prime minister and defence secretary set out how the new strategy would level up regions across the UK by supporting high-quality jobs, technology development and boosting investment. Merseyside is one of the key areas that will benefit from the strategy, with new measures such as better access to finance and opportunities to build crucial skills.
First published in 2017, the National Shipbuilding Strategy outlined ambitions to transform naval procurement, securing export and design contracts for British naval ships to Australia and Canada. Building upon this, the refresh outlines the government’s further ambitions to reinvigorate the whole British shipbuilding industry, supporting shipyards and suppliers across the UK, and providing funding for crucial research and development into greener vessels and infrastructure.
Ben Wallace, defence secretary and shipbuilding lead, said: “As shipbuilding tsar, I am proud to be announcing our new strategy, this is an exciting time to be involved in the sector. With significant government investment, we will be levelling-up across our shipbuilding, workforce, from shipyard to supplier, from procurement to designer, creating tens of thousands of new employment opportunities, boosting living standards and pay. Our refreshed strategy will see the sector galvanised at a crucial time for our economy and see a vital part of British industry expand and flourish.”
The pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels will include large warships, such as Fleet Solid Support (FSS), Type 26 and Type 31 ships, and Border Force cutters, lighthouse vessels and the new National Flagship.
Encouraging investment in domestic shipyards, the pipeline seeks to maximise the social value contribution shipbuilding can make in the UK, whilst balancing the need to deliver value for money and solutions that fully meet the requirements of the Royal Navy. There are more than 20 ship and boat builders across the UK.
Following the publication of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Department for Education (DfE) will lead work to establish a UK-wide taskforce to develop a world-leading skills strategy to support the industry.
The taskforce will last for 18 months and aims to build a picture of the industry’s skills needs and provide solutions to skills shortages – particularly those related to new and emerging technologies and zero-emissions shipping. Partnering industry experts with training providers, the taskforce will collect best practice from across the shipbuilding sector to plug skills gaps and promote shipbuilding career opportunities.
The DfE is calling on experts from the shipbuilding industry to apply to become a member of the first UK shipbuilding skills taskforce. Manufacturers that wish to find out more can visit: UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce.