Almost 4,000 jobs would be lost if shipbuilding were to be axed at Portsmouth dockyard, according to a new report published
The study, reported in 'The News' by Chris Broom, was commissioned by local council and business leaders to examine three alternative futures for Portsmouth Naval Base at a time when its shipbuilding future is in doubt.
In the worst case scenario, if BAE Systems was to pull out, it would have a massive knock-on effect on the area – resulting in huge job losses, and a hit to the region’s economy of £370m a year.
BAE employs 1,500 ship builders in Portsmouth and a further 1,500 people working on the maintenance and repair work it does for the navy’s surface fleet.
But the report – commissioned by the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and University of Portsmouth – looks at the wider impact on the area, and shows how the region would be hit if the shipbuilding firm was to pull out of Portsmouth.
The naval base overall generates annually £1.68bn for the local economy and supports nearly 20,000 jobs across south Hampshire, with 11,900 of those jobs in the base itself.
The report makes clear: ‘Any change that impacts directly on the base is likely to have consequences throughout the (local) economy, even for sectors that are not commercially connected to it.’
Cllr Sean Woodward, chairman of PUSH, a body made up of local councils, hoped the report would make it clear to the government – and BAE – how crucial shipbuilding was to the local economy.