Defence workers from the across the UK will be heading to parliament tomorrow (July 10) to call on MPs to back their campaign for the navy’s three new Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships to be built in UK shipyards.
Unite members from shipyards across the country will be gathering in Old Palace Yard to unveil a banner ‘Back UK defence workers’ ahead of a lobby organised by the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU) which takes place from 12:30 in committee room 9 in the House of Commons.
The lobby follows warnings that the UK could miss out on an economic windfall of up to £1.35bn if the government hands the build of the navy’s three new FSS ships to overseas shipyards.
By 2020 25 per cent of spending on the UK’s defence equipment will be benefiting US factories rather than manufacturers here in the UK. Unite estimates that the Treasury receives 36 pence back in taxes for every pound spent in the UK on defence projects.
“It would be a travesty if UK government ministers handed the economic windfall that building the new Fleet Solid Support ships brings to another country,” said Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner.
“The skills, knowledge and capability to design and build complex warships would be hollowed out and the clock turned back to the 1990s when the UK’s shipbuilding was on its knees.
“By 2020 25 per cent of spending on the UK’s defence equipment will be benefiting factories overseas rather than here in the UK,” he added. “This is taxpayer money that can and should be spent here in the UK to the benefit of our economy.
“The government needs to back UK defence workers and our manufacturing industries by guaranteeing Royal Navy ships are made in UK yards from Belfast to Rosyth and Merseyside to Plymouth with British steel, as part of an industrial and defence strategy that supports UK plc.”