Doubts over 1,300 jobs

Vince Cable has raised doubts over the future of BAE Systems' historic shipyard at Portsmouth after the business secretary questioned the viability of a £150m project that would guarantee production at the site, and secure 1,300 jobs, beyond 2014.

MP's worry over 1,300 dockyard jobs

A ship builder works on a section of the first of two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers at BAE Systems in Portsmouth Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham has highlighted his concern over the future of 1,300 jobs at Portsmouth dockyard. It comes after business secretary Vince Cable reportedly said a shipbuilding project - which would guarantee production at BAE Systems in Portsmouth beyond 2014 - was ‘not a runner’.

He said: "Vince Cable and the Tory-led Government cannot just wash their hands of the dockyard future so soon after the announced closure of Ford in Swaythling. Ministers let Ford keep them in the dark. But on this issue there is no excuse – they know what the problem is and they need to tackle it”.

BAE reaction to doubts over 1,300 jobs

BAE Systems have said work is "ongoing" to try and secure a £150m project to build two offshore patrol vessels. It come after the business secretary Vince Cable raised doubts over the plan which could secure 1,300 jobs at its Portsmouth shipbuilding base.

In a statement, BAE said: “We continue to work closely with the Ministry of Defence to explore all possible options to determine how best to sustain the capability to deliver complex warships in the UK in the future.

"This work is ongoing and we are committed to keeping our employees and trade unions informed as it progresses."

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Doubts over 1,300 shipbuilding jobs

Shipbuilders working on a Queen Elizabeth class carrier at BAE Systems in Portsmouth Credit: Chris Ison/PA

The business secretary has queried plans to secure 1,300 jobs at BAE Systems' shipyard in Portsmouth. Vince Cable has questioned a £150m project that would guarantee production at the site, and secure 1,300 jobs, beyond 2014.

The dockyard has no orders beyond 2014, when it finishes work on the aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt, has backed a £150m proposal to build two offshore patrol vessels, filling any construction gap.

But, Mr Cable told a national newspaper about the proposal: "I don't think it's a runner. It would only be a runner if there was a demand from the armed services."

Vince Cable Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA