A DEFENCE project for three new Royal Navy ships must be awarded to British shipyards rather than be given to Spain, Liz Truss has been warned.
The lucrative project is worth £1.6 billion for vessels whose tasks include keeping the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers supplied with goods such as ammunition and food.
The contract contest is between a UK-based bid including Babcock and a consortium headed by Navantia who are a state-owned Spanish outfit.
Campaigners say awarding the Fleet Solid Support deal overseas would go against the government’s own shipbuilding strategy which promised to back home-grown jobs and defence sector.
The UK proposal would protect 2,000 jobs and a further 4,000 in the supply chain.
There would also be a £650 million windfall for the Treasury in direct and indirect taxes.
A decision by ministers is expected by the Spring.
Ian Waddell, General Secretary of the CSEU shipbuilding union, said: “Liz Truss has a huge decision to make in the next few weeks on this critical defence project.
“Does she hand £1.6 billion of British taxpayers’ money to a state-owned Spanish business?
“Or does she back the Team UK bid and spend this money to back British shipbuilding at a time of soaring international tensions and secure thousands of skilled British jobs.
“We are urging her today to stand up for Britain and ensure these crucial ships are built here in the UK – and help deliver the Government’s pledge in its recent National Shipbuilding Strategy to build a globally successful, innovative and sustainable shipbuilding industry.”