BAE Systems may close one of British shipyards

Type 45 Destroyer at BAE System Shipyard (Govan)

Type 45 Destroyer at BAE System Shipyard (Govan) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of BAE Systems British shipyards may close, the firms Chief Executive told the Sunday Telegraph.

BAE systems own three shipbuilding facilities in Britain – at Govan at Scotstoun in Scotland, and in Portsmouth. After the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers have been completed there is a noticeable gap in orders from the MOD, with the next programme likely to be the Type 26 Frigates due to begin a couple of years later. This gap means that it would be unprofitable to keep one of the yards running while there is no work, hence the likelihood of a closure.

Notably, BAE has performed poorly in the export market in recent years, only managing to receive orders from smaller countries for patrol vessels. Ships such as the Type 45 have not sold on the international market. By contrast countries such as France, Spain and Germany have extremely succesful export records. If only BAE had managed to sell even a few destroyers or frigates in the intervening years, British jobs might not be at risk.

Portsmouth is believed to be the most vulnerable, with 1,500 jobs at risk. There is a notion outside of Portsmouth that as it is in the South East, it can look after itself. As a result Portsmouth has always fared badly when it has come to defence cuts, compared to areas such as Plymouth and Scotland, which not only have relatively few other opportunities for employment, but have also managed to deploy much stronger political arguments. The previous Labour government went to great lengths to protect scottish shipbuilding, due to the close poximity of the scottish shipyards to the constituencies of several high-profile Labour MP’s. Yet, with Alec Salmond’s hot air regarding independence, not to mention the SNP’s anti-military stance, would it not be sensible for BAE – a BRITISH, ie, London company – to secure itself in England?

It’s cruelly unfair that Portsmouth always gets the thin end of the wedge when it comes to cuts. In the post-war period Portsmouth did much to diversify and reduce its reliance on the Royal Navy and the Dockyard, developing new industries, such as heritage, tourism, technology and services. Plymouth, on the other hand, did very little. As a result Plymouth is still reliant on the Navy, and has long been protected from cuts.

Rather worrying times for anyone working for BAE in Portsmouth.

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Filed under defence, Dockyard, News, politics

12 responses to “BAE Systems may close one of British shipyards

  1. If I recall, BAE has lost a couple recent contracts here in the States. And despite our ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (don’t let the press fool ya, we’re up to our ears in Iraq, and will be for decades), our domestic firms aren’t doing too well, either. Could it be the general drift away from active military ops? Or is it possible BAE is suffering because Britain is “on the outside” with the EU, while Continental firms are on the inside and thus benefiting? Contrary views, anybody? ;)

  2. x

    I know what I would like to happen but it won’t. TBH I will not be surprised if a portion of T26 will be built abroad. SNP’s independence fantasy is costing English jobs. Pompey shipyard workers will be joining British soldiers on the dole sacrificed to combat a phantom. Why we borrow money to fund over seas aid to compete with the Chinese who are the ones maintaining liquidity in the international system so we can borrow.

    • x

      That should be English soldiers not British soldiers. Let’s not forget that a good percentage of the Scottish regiments’ manpower call Fiji home.

  3. x

    Wee Eck’s fantasies are costing Scottish jobs too, and English regiments are also full of Commonwealth recruits.

    • x

      Oddly the three English regiments for the chop had very good recruiting track records. I know as one of them is my county regiment. The steady stream from my unit into the regiment and ACF detachments across the region meant they were never short. Add into that kids who joined who were never in cadet units. So sorry no not many Fijians here about. As a percentage the Scots units have far larger number of foreigners in their ranks.

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