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Defence Industry and Shipbuilding: Response to a Resolution of the House

Volume 647: debated on Monday 15 October 2018

I would like to thank all hon. and right hon. Members, my predecessor, the hon. Member for Aberconwy, (Guto Bebb) and the Minister for Defence People and Veterans the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood) for their contribution to the Opposition Day debate on Defence Industry and Shipbuilding which took place on 11 July 2018. The passionate and constructive comments of Members clearly demonstrated this House’s support for shipbuilding.

Naval shipbuilding has a particularly important place in our defence industry. As a maritime nation, our prosperity as well as our security hinges on the strength of our navy.

All Royal Navy warships, by which we mean destroyers, frigates and aircraft carriers, will have a UK-owned design, and will be built and integrated in the UK.

All other naval vessels, including Royal Fleet Auxiliaries, will be procured through international competition to secure the best designs and value for money for the UK taxpayer. This does not mean that other naval vessels cannot be built in the UK, rather, it means the UK shipbuilding industry has an opportunity to put forward internationally competitive and innovative bids. We have actively engaged UK shipyards to take part in the Fleet Solid Support ships competition. It is in the Government’s and the taxpayers’ interests to have a robust competition and we anticipate receiving strong bids from UK shipyards.

We will continue to work closely with the defence industry to energise this crucial sector of our economy to achieve our strategic aim—to have a modem, innovative, internationally competitive sector capable of meeting the country’s defence and security needs, both now and in the future.