dmereifield wrote:Can't see beyond the paywalls. Can anyone provide a summary? Is this likely to help or hinder a possible UK build? There was a UK consortium in the running wasn't there, so presumably the consortium wasn't competitive?
Trimmed a little fluff:
The £1.5bn contract to build a new fleet of supply ships for the Royal Navy has been abandoned because none of the bidders could meet the budget.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will halt the competitive tendering process tomorrow on advice from Navy admirals because bidders were “not compliant” with commercial terms and not delivering on value for money expectations.
Unions have demand the vessels be built in the UK to support British industry, a call backed by industrialist Sir John Parker in his review of the UK’s shipbuilding industry. He said that to safeguard the future of British shipbuilding, all warships should be constructed at UK yards to ensure a steady stream of work.
This, he said, would prevent the previous boom and bust cycle with workers being laid off as contracts finished and skills being lost as they sought jobs in other industries during downturns.
“I recommended warships should be built in the UK for reasons of national security and for the sustainment of sovereign capabilities,” Sir John said in his review, which was handed to the Government in the summer but released on Monday. He said Government accepted this but then did not classify FSS ships as warships, despite them sailing alongside the Navy. This meant the contracts are open to foreign shipyards.
Sir John said: “This is contrary to policy in most developed economies, where all defence-funded vessels are built in their home yards."
“All ships painted grey - like warships - should be built in the UK. Without a steady supply of work to keep shipyards open they risk failing. It’s not just the yards themselves. Without a stream of work, the supply chain will be hollowed out too.”
Sir John also questioned whether foreign bidders - many of which are state-backed - are being subsidised so bid low, at the cost to British industry.
As well as a UK consortium which included Babcock, BAE Systems and Cammell Laird, Spain’s Navantia and Japan Marine were biding for the work which was expected to be awarded in 2020.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “We can confirm that the FSS competition has been stopped, as it is clear that the current approach will not deliver the requirement.
“We are now considering the most appropriate way forward for the procurement project.”
The GMB union also laid into the FSS contract and the publication of Sir John’s review, accusing the Government of “trying to bury this critical report the day before Parliament is dissolved”.
Ross Murdoch, GMB national officer, said: “"This report by the Government's own adviser leaves no room for doubt - it was a catastrophic mistake to put a string of shipbuilding orders out to the global market.
"Our yards cannot compete against the unfair subsidies awarded by other nations while our competitors would not dream of letting the UK bid for their contracts.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who was named as “shipbuilding tsar” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said: “This Government is committed to reinvigorating British shipbuilding industry for both the civil and military sectors."