Defence minister refuses to commit to using British Steel to build royal navy ships, says GMB

Tory minister ‘more interested in penny-pinching than British jobs and industry’, according to union

A Tory defence minister has refused to commit to using British Steel to build new Royal Navy ships.

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Mary Glindon MP asked for an update on the building of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships in Parliament [1], and followed up by asking the Minister if he would commit to buying British, asking:

"Would the Minister also commit to the idea of 'Buying British' in defence procurement and guarantee the use of British steel to build the Navy's new RFA ships?"

Defence Minister Rt Hon Mike Penning MP replied: “The report last week [2] stated that best value for the Navy is what we need to do, and we must make sure that shipyards bid for the work, and in previous times they haven’t bid.

“Let’s see what the bids are that come forward and see who wins.”

David Hulse, GMB National Officer, said:

"Avoiding the question won't help shipbuilding in the UK - building these vessels in UK yards is absolutely vital and whether they are built with British steel shouldn't even be in question.

"Unfortunately, the Minister seems more interested in penny-pinching than UK jobs and industry.

“He needs to guarantee that British ships will be built using British steel and give the industry a much need boost.

"These ships can and should be built in UK shipyards as part of an alliance such as that set up to deliver the aircraft carriers."

[1] http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/ac3475b2-aa3d-40fb-944f-4374365002d8
[2] Sir John Parker's report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-national-shipbuilding-strategy-an-independent-report
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