CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

10 minutes with Mike Hancock - Portsmouth Dockyard

PUBLISHED: 10:18 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:18 14 January 2014

Mike Hancock

Mike Hancock

Archant

Mike Hancock, MP for Portsmouth South, addresses the recent cuts by BAE to Portsmouth Dockyard and explains what it will mean to the area

Workmen leaving the dockyard in more prosperous timesWorkmen leaving the dockyard in more prosperous times

How did the cuts to Portsmouth Dockyard come about, in your opinion?

The cuts to Portsmouth Dockyard were the direct result of three things. Firstly, the Government’s need to do a deal with BAE on the sharing of cost over-runs on the aircraft carriers. Secondly, I think the Ministry of Defence and the Government felt that if they closed yards in Scotland (BAE is cutting jobs at three sites there) this would be an advantage to the Scottish National Party and so part of the decision obviously reflected that. Thirdly, BAE found themselves in a position where they own three yards dealing with the same design and capability and were unable to continue to retain all three; Portsmouth has unfortunately paid the price.

And how do you see this affecting Portsmouth South?

940 job losses is a bitter blow but the people who service shipbuilding will also be badly affected. The hotels in the area had a high occupancy rate due to a number of people coming from other parts of the UK. So all in all, we as a city are going to suffer a very big economic loss.

Will the employees facing job losses receive any support?

I hope that the Government, BAE and the City Council will put in place as many opportunities as possible to try and find alternatives whether locally, nationally or within the existing framework of BAE’s other operations in Portsmouth. It is vital we support the workers facing job losses arising through no fault of their own.

Talk us through the investment ideas currently being proposed.

At present there are no investment ideas being proposed except for those that are contained within the city deal, which will come to Portsmouth in the near future. These are directed at improving the infrastructure and releasing defence owned land in the city for future development; but they are long term proposals rather than short term solutions for the thousands looking for work.

And when will this start to take effect?

This must happen as soon as the Government release the money and we are working with them now to ensure that happens.

Can you explain what the future holds for the dockyard?

The dockyard will be the home base of the two new aircraft carriers and I suspect that the maintenance work will remain here. We have an agreement that the type 45 destroyers will be based here and maintained by the workforce at BAE. We are also hoping that other ships will come to Portsmouth and we will be lobbying the MOD to ensure that some of the work on the new type 26s will be done in Portsmouth. So there is still a very good future for the dockyard in the sense that it is still the home of the Royal Navy and along with Plymouth, hosts all of the Navy service fleet.

You questioned the Prime Minister on why shipbuilding was being taken away from Portsmouth and, in some instances, being moved to Korea. What was his answer?

I was very disappointed that the MOD was prepared to let contracts go to Korea and dismayed that BAE did not even tender for these. We were unable to stop the decision being made even though the Prime Minister has, for a long time, resisted agreeing to the closure of Portsmouth as a ship building facility. His answer to my question in Prime Minister’s Questions was completely unsatisfactory.

How do you plan to fight for the area and the families who are affected?

I will continue to work with the people who are losing their jobs along with BAE and Government Ministers. I have no hesitation in believing that we owe the workforce and their families for the commitment and loyalty they have shown over the years.

I will do everything I can to help them through this very difficult time.

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 10:42

Is this the ultimate city break? Winchester has it all: from ancient history to space exploration, plus cafes, cocktails, culture and countryside… But with so much to do, choices are going to have to be made

Read more
Yesterday, 09:55

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Mon, 15:25

Remember, remember… Here’s a quick round up of some stunning displays across Hampshire this year

Read more
Mon, 15:22

The community shop is thriving. Why? And what makes the perfect village store? We went in search…

Read more
Mon, 14:27

From Jane Austen to Karl Marx, our towns and villages have fascinating links to some of the biggest historical celebrities. Viv Micklefield follows in their footsteps with the help of a blue plaque or two

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Our guide to some of the best Halloween events on offer across Hampshire this October

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We round up 8 things you didn’t know about this little South Downs village

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Enjoy some easy walking around the Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve says Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

Head to the Isle of Wight to enjoy the charming villages of Brighstone and Mottistone, taking in superb views, an ancient monument and enchanting gardens with our new walks writer, Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

With the centenary of the end of World War One commemorated this year, the reopening of the iconic Royal Victoria Chapel, part of our military heritage, is timely

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This year Winchester’s Theatre Royal celebrates the 40th anniversary of its re-opening as a performance theatre

Read more
Monday, September 17, 2018

Avon Valley, Beer and Cake is the ABC of why Ringwood, a busy market town on the western edge of the New Forest, makes a quirkily clever choice for a break away

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Lego enthusiast Duncan Titmarsh has built his business brick by brick; from tinkering in his garden shed to internationally acclaimed sculptures

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory



Property Search