If shipbuilding returns to Southampton, after BAE Systems’ recent departure from neighbouring Portsmouth, and the last shipbuilders in S’ton relocated to Pompey over 10 years ago, many would say this was ironic. And yet it’s exactly that situation which could be likely for the city’s Centenary Quay development.
Portsmouth’s shipbuilding industry has been taking a battering of late. Ever since BAE Sytems confirmed the axing of jobs in 2013, and moving operations to Scotland, the city has been on tenterhooks and desperate to secure commercial contracts.
Union leaders are calling for the spate of redundancies at Portsmouth’s shipbuilding facility to be put on hold until after Scottland’s independence referendum. Although 940 jobs were confirmed as being axed last November, Michael Fallon has been put under pressure to encourage BAE Systems to wait until after September and the future use of the shipbuilding facility has been decided.
Portsmouth’s shipbuilding industry has been dealt a fresh blow after Philip Dunne, the government’s minister for defence, cast doubt on the city’s bid of keeping all future warship maintenance.
In the wake of announcements last week from BAE Systems, who are pulling out of Portsmouth; hopes have been pinned on a number of firms expressing interest in bringing their operations to the city. Reported at least seven companies have approached officials in the last few days – some of whom are interested in building whole ships in Portsmouth.