The Government has launched a refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS) to revitalise the UK’s world-renowned shipbuilding industry.
During a visit to Cammell Laird Shipyard in Merseyside last week, 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.
Home to one of the leading British shipbuilding companies, 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 on that success, the refresh outlines the Government’s further ambitions to reinvigorate the whole British shipbuilding industry contributing to its levelling up mission to boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards.
The £4 billion of Government investment will galvanise and support shipyards and suppliers across the UK, and provide funding for crucial research and development into greener vessels and infrastructure.
The strategy will also deliver a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels for the UK Government and Devolved Administrations over the next 30 years.
Those 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.
Defence Secretary and Shipbuilding Lead 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.”
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.
The strategy also includes a range of interventions from across Government to support the sector. A new Home Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee Scheme (HSCGS) will give UK shipyards access to finance for underwriting domestic contracts.
This will level the playing field with competitors’ export credit guarantees and ensure UK shipbuilders have a fairer chance of securing valuable contracts.
The Department for Transport will invest £206 million in the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK-SHORE) to 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. It also includes a multi-year version of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition which ran last year and provided funding to consortia right across the UK.
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 world-class vessels.
With the shipbuilding supply chain spread across all parts of the UK, the taskforce will work jointly with the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure shipbuilders and the wider supply chain can access the skills they need.
A new Maritime Capability Campaign Office (MCCO) within the Department for International Trade will coordinate export support across government and industry.
The MCCO will use robust analysis to improve the Government’s understanding about global markets, helping maritime suppliers to win export orders and increase UK market share.
This refreshed NSbS moves beyond the Ministry of Defence’s commitment to double its shipbuilding investment over the life of this Parliament to over £1.7 billion a year – supported as part of the £24 billion increase in Defence spending over the next four years.
This will continue to support jobs and skills around the UK.
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