Portsmouth Shipbuilding Task Force Starts Work

A new task force has started work to try to help out nearly a thousand Portsmouth shipbuilders who are facing losing their jobs.

Two weeks ago BAE Systems announced a decision to end its shipbuilding operation in the city with the loss of up to 940 jobs. It's thought another 2,000 jobs in the Solent area could be lost from suppliers dependent on the shipyard.

Portsmouth City Council has brought together a task force to work to preserve as many jobs as possible and help affected workers.

It will have two groups ­– one looking at lessening the local impact and finding alternative work on the site, and the other looking at supporting those made redundant.  The first group will be chaired by Leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, and the second by Kathy Wadsworth, the council's director of regeneration.

Task force members include representatives from Southampton City Council, BAE Systems, business leaders, local colleges, skills agencies, unions, HM Naval Base and government bodies.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said:

"We have set up these groups to make sure that we all work together, and with BAE Systems, to provide the best support we can to those who will be affected by the decision to remove shipbuilding from the south of England.  

"However, we will continue to do whatever we can to try to protect jobs, and campaign for the government to agree that one of the Royal Navy's three new offshore patrol vessels could be built in Portsmouth."

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