Some 800 jobs will be safeguarded after the Ministry of Defence extended five maintenance contracts worth £349m for naval support ships.
The contracts – all held by British companies and originally set to last five years – refer to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, a 13-strong fleet that provides fuel and munitions to the Royal Navy at sea.
Defence minister Philip Dunne said: “These substantial contracts will not only safeguard hundreds of UK jobs but will ensure that these ships can continue in their roles for years to come,” adding that RFA ships are “crucial to the work of the Royal Navy” and that “without them it simply could not operate.”
The businesses that are benefitting from the renewal of the contracts are Lloyds Register, based in Bristol; Birkenhead-based Cammell Laird Ship Repairs and Shipbuilders; Cammell A&P Group, which provides ship repairing in Falmouth; Helpel UK in south Wales; and Trimline in Southampton.
David Hulse, from the GMB trade union, welcomed the news: “Shipyard workers are just as important as the armed forces to our nation’s defences, which is why it is crucial that the MoD plan procurement to ensure capacity and skills.”
The decision to extend the contract for a futher five years was made after the MoD completed a spending review.