On 26th November 2018, Lord West of Spithead tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the importance of the Appledore shipyard as part of the United Kingdom’s future shipbuilding strategy.’ The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, having been vicar of the parish in which the Swan Hunter shipyard was when that yard went into the hands of the receivers a number of years ago, I am acutely conscious of the devastating effect that such closures have not just upon individuals but upon whole communities. The Minister has acknowledged that. Will he undertake, if the yard does go under, to provide necessary assistance both to individuals and to the community, which will suffer terribly?
Earl Howe: The right reverend Prelate focuses on a very important issue. There is no doubt that the site is regarded as at the heart of the local community, with generations of families employed there. Naturally, as a result, local councils for one are very keen to find a solution. I can tell him that Babcock has offered all affected employees other positions, included at Devonport. It is planning to hold discussions with affected individuals about their long-term options, and it has committed to being as flexible as possible in accommodating travel and relocation needs.