Shipbuilding in the UK has suffered along with most of the rest of Europe such that today beyond a research vessel and a pair of ferries the industry is limited to a small number of naval vessels and an even smaller number of fishing vessels.
Despite that, shipbuilding has been singled out for support in the manifesto of the Conservative party which is widely tipped to win an increased majority in the election of June 8th. The manifesto says “We will continue to support these key industries (auto and aerospace) so that they can grow further. We want to replicate that success in other sectors – like shipbuilding where, for the first time in decades, there is the prospect of a renaissance”.
The Conservative plan is to proceed with the recommendations of Sir John Parker’s review of shipbuilding, under which shipyards are seen as modernising and collaborating building ships on a modular basis. It hopes to see shipbuilding growing on the Clyde and on the Forth, in Belfast and in Barrow, and in the north-east and south of England.
The offshore sector also comes in for mention with the manifesto saying that the oil and gas sector is transforming and will continues to play a critical role in the UK economy and domestic energy supply. If elected, a Conservative government would continue to support the industry. While there are very significant reserves still in the North Sea, it is expected to be the first major oil and gas basin in the world to decommission fully, and there is a promise to support the development of a world-leading decommissioning industry including the creation of a multi-use yard and the UK’s first ultra-deep water port to support this industry. Offshore wind is also seen as having a prominent role in a post Brexit UK, providing part of an energy mix which the party hopes will be the lowest cost in Europe.