Lord West of Spithead – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Defence

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord West of Spithead on 2016-03-14.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what factors led to the change of plans about keeping a warship building capability in Portsmouth as discussed prior to the last General Election.

Earl Howe

Following a review of its business needs, Magma Structures, the company considering commercial use of shiphall A in HM Naval Base Portsmouth, has decided it does not want to proceed with a lease. It has confirmed its intention to lease office space within the naval base in order to develop a centre of excellence for composite materials on site and to develop a broad range of composite projects within the defence and other sectors.

Instead, the shiphall will be used by the Royal Navy (supported by BAE Systems (BAES) as part of contracts that are already in place) for maintenance works that support wider frigate and destroyer maintenance programmes on the base. It provides the ideal under cover facility to support the BAES/RN Centre of Excellence by providing a weather-protected maintenance area immediately adjacent to the operational repair facilities.

Shiphall B will be used to create a centre of excellence for minehunter maintenance. Royal Navy minehunter HMS Brocklesby moved into the hall for a year-long comprehensive maintenance programme on 9 March, marking the return of engineering to the site which has been vacant since BAES relocated its shipbuilding activities to Scotland in 2014. The upgraded facilities will provide the opportunity for vessels to be maintained on the site under cover, which allows the work to be completed more efficiently and will result in ships being returned to the operational fleet more quickly.