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Decision to Keep Assault Ships 'Welcome'

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

GMB WELCOMES GOVERNMENT‘S DECISION TO KEEP HMS BULWARK & HMS ALBION

UK government U-turn after a broad cross party campaign convinces MOD to keep the amphibious assault ships

GMB Wales and South West have praised the government’s decision not to offload HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, and has called on the Government to take action on the base porting of the type 26 frigates at Devonport.

Fears had been raised that Albion and Bulwark would be scrapped or sold after the MOD announced that it was intending to make £5bn of savings, however a local campaign led by the 'Devonport Task Force' group, including Gary Streeter MP (Con, SW Devon), Luke Pollard MP (Lab, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport), the GMB and Unite unions and local businesses has helped sway the MOD’s hand. [1]

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced on Sunday at Conservative Party conference that they have decided against moves to offload the Auxiliary Support Vessels. [2]

The campaign saw a breakout of cross-party unity in the city, with the campaign being championed by both the current council Labour Administration under Tudor Evans as well as the previous administration headed up by the Conservative leader Ian Bowyer.

After this recent success, GMB Wales and South West are renewing their calls for the baseporting of the new Type 26 Frigates at Devonport Dockyard and for the MOD to award the £1bn contract for the new Fleet Solid Support Ships to a British yard, using British steel, which could go a long way to secure the future of the under-threat Appledore Shipyard, also operated by Babcock. [3][4]

Matt Roberts, GMB Organiser for Devonport said: 

“This is good news for Devonport, good news for the City of Plymouth and good news for our national interest and defence of our country. There can be no doubt that these broad-based campaigns of Unions, Businesses, veterans and politicians of all political colours can have a resounding success in getting the Government to listen, and on behalf of GMB members in the yard I’d like to thank everyone who helped make this case.

“However the show moves on, and its important now that with an imminent decision on the base porting of Type 26 Frigates we put the necessary pressure on the Government to base them here in Devonport.

“We also need to re-emphasise the robust case for the new Fleet Solid Support Ships should be built across British shipyards including by Babcock at Appledore, investing £1bn into the local economy and providing jobs for workers right across Devon and Cornwall.”

ENDS

Contact:

Matt Roberts on 07813 542 038 or at Matthew.Roberts@gmb.org.uk 

Tom Hoyles on 07980 931835 or tom.hoyles@gmb.org.uk 

Notes to editors: 

[1] Six months to save Devonport’s ships and Royal Marines says Luke Pollard MP -https://www.lukepollard.org/news/2018/01/25/six_months_to_save_devonport_s_ships_and_royal_marines_says_luke_pollard_mp/ 

[2]  HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion saved by Government -http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2018-09-30/hms-bulwark-and-hms-albion-saved-by-government/ 

[3]  New frigates must be based in Plymouth to save Devonport Naval Base -https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/new-type-26-type-31-623424

[4] Give £1bn Navy ships contract to Devonport, not foreign firms -https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/business/navy-ship-contract-foreign-devonport-1473911

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