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Government botches British tender process for naval support ships

Labour have today slammed the government for their failure to prioritise UK yards and suppliers to make naval support ships, after their delivery was delayed because of a botched tender process.

The tender for the naval support ships was cancelled in 2019 after the government’s shipbuilding tsar, Sir John Parker, recommended a UK-only tender.

It has since been reopened with the government specifying the successful bidder must be ‘led by a British company,’ but with the tender still silent on what proportion of the contract’s value will be reserved for UK yards and suppliers.

According to the GMB, the union for shipbuilding and ship repair workers, the contract notice suggests the project has already been delayed two years.

GMB have also called for a guarantee that the long-awaited Fleet Solid Support contract will be built in UK yards and use UK supply chains.

Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan said:

“The Prime Minister has made a lot of promises to our Navy and to British industry, but once again this government refuses to put its money where its mouth is.

“Building the Fleet Solid Support Ships in Britain is a no-brainer. Aside from the obvious security benefits it will provide the steady drumbeat of building needed to create jobs and sustain homegrown industry.

“It is baffling how much time and money this government is willing to waste, when instead it could be following Labour’s call to buy, make and sell more in Britain.”