We need a cast iron guarantee support ships will be built in the UK

06 Nov 2019

The government has paused the tender competition for the Fleet Solid Support Ship. Prospect is calling on the government to now guarantee that they will be built in the UK.

Royal Fleet Auxillary Fort Class Ship

The Fleet Solid Support Ships will replace these Fort class vessels (Image: Brian Burnell CC:BY-SA)

The Fleet Solid Support Ships will support Royal Navy vessels, including its new aircraft, carriers with supplies at sea.

Prospect represents members working at number of UK defence contractors including in our shipyards. We are  campaigning for the Fleet Solid Support Ships to be built in the UK.

The UK government is already committed to building warships in the UK but does not accept that these support ships should be categorised as warships, even though they will travel to hostile environments alongside the Royal Navy.

Prospect is arguing that building these ships in the UK will mean shipbuilding jobs, skills and technology will be maintained and developed in the UK and avoid stop-start investment in naval shipbuilding that costs the tax payer more in the long run.

Mike Clancy, Prospect General Secretary, 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.”