UK Impact

SNUBBED: Europe handed lucrative shipbuilding contracts for British warships

THE UK Government has come under fire for handing out multi-million pound contracts to EU countries instead of British ones for the Type-26 ships AND outsourcing steel to Sweden.

In a snub to UK manufacturing, it was recently revealed the majority of steel for the £8 billion project for eight new Navy ships – the Type26 – would come from Sweden. And a fresh blow was delivered to UK industries when shipbuilders BAE systems released procurement contracts listing five European countries who have snatched work from UK residents.David Banks, from Veterans for Britain, told “When contracts are sent to other EU states just to satisfy EU procurement rules, which demand that non-UK companies get a slice of the pie, then there is the potential that this a missed opportunity for the UK to not only support jobs and skills but also to develop expertise and research in specific areas.“Many UK companies would like to investigate new technology if they could have the certainty of a supportive British government seeking a domestic solution.

British shipbuilding contracts: Theres May warshipsGETTY            

The majority of steel for the £8 billion project will come from Sweden

“When these contracts could be done in the UK, there is a risk of lost opportunities for UK workers and lost skills.”He said barmy EU laws tied the Government’s hand in some cases, despite Brexit, forcing them to hand contracts to member states.Mr Banks said: “Defence workers and voters might well ask when UK obligations under this EU agreement will end, so that the Government is best placed to work on its own terms in the interests of British manufacturing and researchers.“People would be very concerned about the EU’s procurement directives if more people knew about them.

British shipbuilding contracts: UK NavyGETTY        

Shipbuilders BAE systems released procurement contracts listing five European countries

“In defence, these rules do not favour UK companies and workers, in fact the opposite, they impede UK public contracts going to UK companies – and for what?“All for a technocrat’s dream of a single unitary EU with a single defence industry.”On a list of 14 companies awarded contracts last month, Germany, Denmark and France have all been handed lucrative jobs.BAE told it looked both home and abroad for the equipment “in order to secure best value for money for the UK taxpayer”.

“In order to secure best value for money for the UK taxpayer we have conducted international competitions for the vast majority of equipment required under the Type 26 programme.“As part of this, our teams have proactively engaged with suppliers on a global basis to ensure a full and fair process.“This has included suppliers in Australia, Canada, the USA and across Europe as well as the UK.

British shipbuilding contracts: BAE contractsBAE            

BAE was awarded the contract by the Ministry of Defence

All for a technocrat’s dream of a single unitary EU with a single defence industry

David Banks

But programme director for the project, Geoff Searle of BAE Systems, acknowledged Europe’s part in the Ministry of Defence’s investment.He said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Type 26 Global Combat Ship is truly an industry-wide effort drawing on the skills and dedication of many hundreds of people spread across the supply chain in the UK, Europe and beyond.”French company DCNS, from Nantes, will field the shaft line for the ships, while Polish MacTaggart Scott, from Gdansk, was selected to provide the mission bay side doors.Two German companies, Sauer Compressors UK from Kiel, and Rohde & Schwarz, from Teisnach, will source the high and low pressure compressors and Multimedia Reception Distribution (MMRD).

The fifth foreign company, DESMI, is from Norresundby, Denmark, and will provide the hot fresh water module and wholeship pumps.The Government was embarrassed last month when it was revealed the majority of steel for the mammoth project would be sourced from Sweden – not the UK.British steelmakers, known worldwide for their quality, are outraged over the snub which they say could have provided a much needed boost.Only 35 per cent of steel needed for the £8billion order will be made in the UK, after the Government quietly revealed the figures in parliamentary questions.

 British shipbuilding contracts: Type-26 frigatesWENN               

The eight new frigates will be manufactured in Glasgow shipyards

Defence Minister Harriet Baldwin said: “Around 4,000 tonnes of steel will be required to build each Type 26 Frigate. Steel will be sourced principally from the UK and Sweden.“We expect around 35 per cent of steel for each ship will be sourced from UK suppliers in Scotland and Scunthorpe; approximately 1,400 tonnes per ship.”Community steelworkers’ union boss Roy Rickhuss slammed the decision.He said: “British steel is some of the best in the world, and our Government should be using this project to help British steelworkers.”

BAE tried to defend the move, saying the decision was taken after an “open competitive bid process”.

BAE was awarded the contract by the Ministry of Defence last month to build the eight new frigates which will be manufactured in Glasgow shipyards.Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon recently visited the Scottish city where production began recently on the first three ships, costing £3.7bn.The first ship will be named Glasgow.

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