Government's flagship industrial strategy opens doors in Appledore

26th January 2017

This week, the Government set out its objectives for Brexit and a part of its plan for Britain.

While trade deals abroad will play a significant part in shaping Britain’s future in the upcoming months, the Government’s commitment to revitalising Britain’s industrial strategy at home will support the growth of businesses in Torridge and create more high skilled, high paid jobs for local people. 

I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement this week on the unveiling of a new, modern and active industrial strategy. One way in which we can now hope to see this policy in action is close to home in Appledore Ship Yard.

Appledore Ship Yard has a long and proud history of building world-class vessels. For hundreds of years it has been a source of pride in the community producing first-class engineers and hardworking ship yard workers and providing security for many local families. 

In the spring, the Ministry of Defence will publish its National Shipbuilding Strategy, a fundamental re-appraisal of how we undertake shipbuilding enterprise in the UK and intended to place UK naval shipbuilding on a sustainable long term footing.

Last year, Sir John Parker, a leading industrialist, was appointed by the Government to chair the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Sir John and I met in September to discuss the Strategy and the place Appledore might have in his plans.  His report made recommendations on all aspects of warship building, the future integration of the industry and the contribution of suppliers.

One of the opportunities that Sir John identified was the modern, efficient and competitiveness of Appledore Yard. The report praises the Appledore Yard as one of the few regional shipyards which display "entrepreneurial attitudes" and a "willingness to embrace change”, which are the very type of Yard that he believes should build the next generation of (Type 31) Royal Navy Frigates. The commissioned report was welcomed by the Government and Sir John’s recommendations are likely to form a large part of the 2017 National Shipbuilding Strategy. I believe one way in which the Government can sustain a flourishing industrial strategy is to put our English Yards to work and I will continue to lobby the Government to ensure that a substantial share of future defence work is awarded to Appledore.

More broadly, this Government’s Industrial Strategy will set the direction for economic growth, detailing ten ‘pillars’ that will underpin a new approach and identifying all of the new opportunities within our economy, including investment in science, research and innovation, and upgrading infrastructure. Just this week, we learned that the UK economy continues to grow robustly and at one of the fastest rates in the developed world.

I am optimistic that, with prudent and sound macroeconomic management, new trade agreements that we are working to conclude and this Industrial Strategy, the Government is doing all it can to create the conditions for business to flourish in our region and throughout the country. 

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