Navy ships must be built in UK, say unions

Unions have called for Royal Navy ships to be built in the UK following the suspension of the controversial international £1bn tender for three support ships.

The Ministry of Defence has published a critical report by Sir John Parker which said that the policy putting all shipbuilding orders apart from frigates, destroyers and carriers out to international tender is not ‘the right strategic approach’ and that ‘UK-only competition should be considered for future defence-funded vessels.’has today suspended the tender for three support ships, giving unions hope all future contracts will be awarded to UK firms.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “This is an important victory but we are not celebrating yet. We will continue to keep up the pressure until these ships are being built in our yards, by GMB members, using British steel.

“The government must now fundamentally change its approach and announce that it will keep this order and all military shipbuilding orders in the UK.”

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “In theory the UK has a National Shipbuilding Strategy, but you wouldn’t know it from the absolute chaos we have seen in vital naval procurement in recent years.

“The Type 31e contract was a shambles and had to be paused for a rethink, and now the Fleet Support Ships are suffering the same fate. Perhaps it is no surprise given we might be about to get our fourth defence secretary in a little over six months.

“The only silver lining is that this pause will allow the government to reconsider the decision to send this work overseas at a time when our fantastic UK shipyards need support from government.

“Workers in our shipyards now need a cast iron guarantee from all parties that these ships will be built here. It’s time to back the British shipbuilding industry.”

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