UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his pledge to bring shipbuilding back to the UK in a bid to strengthen the Royal Navy. The new PM spoke of his aim to create ‘thousands’ of shipping industry jobs over the next decade at London International Shipping week whilst on the Thames.
The speech given by the Prime Minister also revealed the Governments’ preffered bidder for the Type 31e frigate project. Engineering firm Babcock won the contract worth £1.25bn for the five warships, which will see hundreds of jobs created in Scotland at Rosyth shipyard where the ships will be assembled.
The project also aims to export the remaining ships to overseas, with the ‘e’ in the Type 31’s name referring to ‘exportability.’
The programme will support over 2,500 jobs across the country with the ships being built exclusively in the UK.
The announcement comes as part of the Prime Minister’s goal to strengthen the British shipbuilding industry by expanding on the success of the Type 26 frigates, which were designed in the UK and widely exported to overseas navies.
“This is an industry with a deep and visceral connection to so many parts of the UK and to the Union itself.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“My government will do all it can to develop this aspect of our heritage and the men and women who make up its workforce – from apprentices embarking on a long career, to those families who have worked in shipyards for generations.”
The Prime Minister has also appointed Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as Shipbuilding Tsar with part of his brief focussing on at how the government can use Further Education, skilled apprenticeships and graduates to achieve a sustainable, longer term skills base for British shipbuilding across the UK.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace highlighted the important role the new frigates will play in the Royal Navy.
“The Type 31 frigates will be a fast, agile and versatile warship, projecting power and influence across the globe.
“The ships will be vital to the Royal Navy’s mission to keeping peace, providing life-saving humanitarian aid and safeguarding the economy across the world from the North Atlantic, to the Gulf, and in the Asia Pacific.”
Babcocks’ Arrowhead140 Frigate, which won the £1.25bn Government Type 31e contract. Credit: Babcock International Vimeo