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Keep naval shipbuilding contracts in Britain, says Labour

A HUGE £1 billion navy shipbuilding contract must be kept in Britain, Labour will demand in an opposition day debate today.

The government is planning to offer the enormous contract for building auxiliary fleet solid support ships, which provide supplies to the main fleet, to international bidders.

Labour argues that keeping the contract in Britain would create or secure up to 6,500 jobs, including 1,805 highly skilled shipyard jobs.

Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said: “The Tories have the chance to support Labour’s plan for creating skilled and secure jobs in this country. But they look set to put party politics before the UK’s interests.

"There’s no good reason not to place this important order here. It’s normal in other countries to use government contracts to support industry and to defend jobs and apprenticeships."

It comes after the government-commissioned Dunne defence review recommended that the benefits of placing equipment orders with British firms should be taken into account when the government seeks tenders internationally.

Defence union GMB’s Ross Murdoch said: “Other countries do not hesitate to place orders with their own yards to preserve vital skills and their sovereign defence capabilities, and the UK should do the same.”

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