20 May 2019

Defence Secretary praises UK shipbuilding

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has praised the UK shipbuilding industry during a speech at the 2019 Sea Power Conference.

Penny Mordaunt spoke about the future of UK shipbuilding and how it can benefit the economy as a whole. She encouraged the industry to modernise to ensure a solid future that can take on new challenges.

The speech emphasised the need for ties with other industries and producing more modern ships. She challenged manufacturers to improve on exportability and competitiveness as well as ensuring projects remain on budget and are delivered within deadlines.

She said: “To get the ships we need, we need the shipbuilding. That means improving the relationship between industry and Government.”

“A few years ago, Sir John Parker’s report laid bare the challenges. The old days of changing requirements on a whim and being vague about what we need in the long-term, that must end. Our Recent Acquisition Review took a sample of live MOD programmes.”

“It found on average that the initial estimated cost of a project rose by 35 per cent and delivery time by 46 per cent. That’s not just costing us time and money…that is damaging our operational effectiveness.”

“So my challenge to industry is to become more sustainable. To do more to deliver value for money. To stick to fixed project budgets and to innovate in the way you build. To up your competitiveness…building exportability in as standard and to deliver faster…the days of taking decades to build a ship are over.”

Sir John Parker’s 2016 report outlined what was needed to ensure the future of the shipbuilding industry. It recommended modern digital engineering, industrial innovation, competitiveness, focus on apprenticeships and jobs, and export-focus.

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