National Shipbuilding Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:42 pm on 10th March 2022.

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Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 12:42 pm, 10th March 2022

I make no apologies for taking time to come to the House with this strategy, because we want to make certain that it is a strategy that works, and that is exactly what we are delivering. There is no jingoism or nostalgia about this strategy; it is hard facts that will deliver for our shipbuilding industry. It is a shipbuilding industry that needs to embrace the modern technology of artificial intelligence and environmental sustainability. That is why we are establishing the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, with £206 million behind it. It is a strategy that will support our ship buyers with a home shipping guarantee system, in the same way that we support our exports with export guarantees. We have a National Shipbuilding Office that is doing great work and is cohering across Government and delivering for the entire industry.

The hon. Gentleman spoke of warships. We can be very proud that we are putting more money into warships —£1.7 billion will be the spend by the end of this Parliament, doubling our current commitment. The Type 31 frigate HMS Venturer had her steel cut in Rosyth, with HMS Glasgow now well under way on the Clyde. Opportunity exists for Type 32, with up to five entering service with the Royal Navy, and a certainty that we will be going beyond our current level of 19 frigates and destroyers by the end of this decade.

The hon. Gentleman referred to FSS ships, which he knows will have a very substantial element of UK build. They are on time to be delivered within a couple of years of the procurement. We are doing our utmost to ensure that we derive value from this strategy and that it will deliver for Britain.

The hon. Gentleman asks why we cannot have a “build in Britain” strategy. As he knows, that is exactly what we do for warships, and it is this Government who have extended that to say that, for every ship being acquired by the MOD, we will make a case-by-case examination to see whether that needs to be a build in Britain. We have broadened that scope.

When we go beyond defence and warships, we cannot, on the one hand, say that we will support the international rules-based order, yet, on the other, ignore rules organisations such as the World Trade Organisation. We need to work within those rules to get the maximum value for our country, which is exactly what the NSO will do. We have a programme of 150 vessels, £4 billion of support going into British shipbuilding over the next three years, and exciting opportunities that our industry can follow.