Shipbuilding firms chosen for Fleet Solid Support competition

Commenting on the news that a UK consortium has been shortlisted to bid for the UK’s Fleet Solid Support Ships, Ben Murray, Maritime UK Director, said:

“We welcome the fact that a UK consortium has been shortlisted to bid for the UK’s new Fleet Solid Support Ships. That means we’re one step closer to seeing these British ships built in Britain.

“The team will be working very hard to win the contract and bring well-paid and highly skilled jobs to communities across the country.

“We have long-argued for government to use its purchasing power to support British industry. In government procurement, Maritime UK calls not for protectionism, but for a level playing field for UK companies.

“When it comes to assessing these bids, we need to ensure that the full economic benefit from UK procurement is factored into the decision. It has been estimated that some £285m of the £1bn contract could be returned to taxpayers through wage and supply chain payments, and well as helping to sustain shipbuilding in this country.

“The UK is a maritime nation and has the skills and expertise to build these ships at home. There is a strong argument that RFA ships should be built here in the same way as Royal Navy ships are. We believe that would be in the spirit of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

“The UK’s expertise and capacity is evidenced by the recent launch of the RRS David Attenborough, which is among the most sophisticated, technologically advanced scientific vessels in the world.

“Projects like the RRS David Attenborough are made possible when the UK Government provides UK manufacturers with a level playing field to compete against our international counterparts. British manufacturers are not asking for a ‘leg up’, but to simply be considered on the same page as our international competitors.

“We need Government to take a more holistic view when considering the terms for new procurement. While initial capital expenditure for UK projects may come at a slight premium, the long-term benefits to UK economy through employment, training and productivity throughout a considerable supply chain will vastly outweigh the primary saving. 

“What’s more, we’ll continue to develop the skills and expertise that will translate into further exports. It’s a fortuitous – and crucially, sustainable – cycle.

“The UK is already a leading manufacturer of superyachts, naval vessels including the new aircraft carriers, high-speed ferries and highly innovative autonomous vessels, besides much more. Backing British represents a sound investment in our future beyond Brexit.”