The Prime Minister has visited a Merseyside dockyard as he announced a £4 billion injection into the UK’s regional shipbuilding industry to create tens of thousands of high-quality jobs.
The Government envisage the multi-billion pound investment will galvanise and support shipyards and suppliers across the UK, delivering a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels for the UK Government and Devolved Administrations over the next 30 years.
The funding comes as the Ministry of Defence publishes its refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), which will outline how the Government will support UK shipyards across the nation to upskill workers, create high-quality jobs, drive technology development and ensure UK shipbuilding delivers on next-generation challenges.
The strategy also builds on the UK’s increased support for European defence capability in the face of rising Russian aggression, with UK defence giant Babcock successfully being chosen as Poland’s preferred partner to deliver three new warships based on the UK’s Type 31 design.
The UK’s historic shipbuilding industry currently supports 42,600 jobs across the UK, from Cornwall to Belfast and Govan, and contributes more than £2.8 billion to the economy.
The Prime Minister said: “Shipbuilding has been in our blood for centuries and I want to ensure it remains at the heart of British industry of generations to come.
“The National Shipbuilding Strategy will transform this important and crucial industry, creating jobs, driving technology development and upskilling the shipbuilders of tomorrow, ensuring we are levelling up across every dock, port and shipyard in the UK.
“This will ensure the UK is rightly seen as a shipbuilding power across the world .”
The NSbS Refresh will also establish a new UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce, led by the Department for Education. The taskforce will work with industry and training providers across the UK to identify and address skills gaps, ensuring the UK continues to develop and nurture future-focused skills and knowledge to help our shipbuilders deliver the world-class vessels of tomorrow.
Meanwhile, as part of the strategy, the Department for Transport will invest £206 million in the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK-SHORE) to match fund research and development in zero emission vessels and infrastructure and ensure our place as global leader in green technology.
UK-SHORE will help to tackle barriers to investment in clean maritime technologies, including investment in port infrastructure.
A new Maritime Capability Campaign Office (MCCO) within the Department for International Trade will also be established. The MCCO will coordinate export support across government and industry and use robust analysis to improve our understanding about global markets, helping maritime suppliers to win export orders and increase UK market share.
Defence Secretary and Shipbuilding Tsar Ben Wallace 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.”
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