Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect union, welcoming Jeremy Corbyn’s speech on protecting UK shipbuilding jobs, commented:
“Britain has a world-class shipbuilding industry that risks being undermined by government delays to procurement decisions, cuts to defence investment and contracts going abroad.
“We welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that defence jobs matter and that Labour will protect UK shipbuilding jobs. In today’s world it is more important than ever that the UK maintains our sovereign capacity.
“Ministers need to take rapid action to secure jobs and keep the navy served with the best infrastructure. They could start with speeding up the contract for the Type 31e ships and committing to UK procurement for naval support ships, which are warships by any other name, to invest in defence jobs and skills.
“The UK’s capacity to build its own equipment is absolutely vital. The benefits are not only to the armed forces, but also to the wider UK economy. The defence sector directly employs 142,000 staff and, between 2010-14, the UK benefitted from an average of £7.7 billion in exports. If we do not reverse the current trajectory of defence spending then our sovereign capability in defence is at risk.”