Bishop of Durham asks about shipbuilding in the north-east of England

The Bishop of Durham asked a question regarding shipbuilding in the north-east of England on 15th March 2022, in response to a statement on the national shipbuilding strategy:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, if I may return to the glorious infographic—figure 1 of the National Shipbuilding Strategy—and wear my north-east hat very strongly at this point, the only north-east reference I could find in the entire document was a little star on the map, yet the north-east at one time was the great shipbuilding hub of the United Kingdom. What affirmation can the Minister give to the continuing shipbuilding work and ship repair work in the north-east and its desire to further expand for the future? Where does steel fit into that? I do not think the Minister answered the question from the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, about steel.

Baroness Goldie: I say to the right reverend Prelate that figure 1, which is now assuming iconic importance in this discussion, is purely illustrative; it is not meant to be a precise geographical identification of every shipyard, but it reflects a broad spectrum, not just of shipbuilders but of the essential supply industry, which is like a set of veins reaching right out across the whole United Kingdom. The shipbuilding strategy, by its nature, means that there is no part of the United Kingdom where shipbuilding takes place that should feel excluded by this: on the contrary, it is included and is integral to what we are trying to do. I hope that any shipbuilding entity in the north-east will feel encouraged, will feel part of this and will feel that it wants to commit to this, with its industry partners, and engage with the Government on how this can all be taken forward. The right reverend Prelate will be aware that the Government currently try to help steel producers by producing an estimated pipeline of what steel orders may be and, in doing that, try to signal where manufacturers may want to be ready to investigate tendering for supply on a contract. I have already said that a number of ships are already committed to using British steel, but one of the technical issues is that not all types of steel are suitable for the particular type of ship being built, so there is the matter of finding suitable product.


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