Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swan's Ship to Be Pulled from Tyne

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swan's Ship to Be Pulled from Tyne

Article excerpt

Byline: By Zoe Hughes

Swan Hunter will be ordered to hand over its last remaining warship today so it can be completed by rivals in Scotland, The Journal can reveal.

After months of speculation, the troubled Wallsend yard will today be told by the Ministry of Defence that the second Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, the Lyme Bay, will be finished by BAE Systems at Govan instead of on the Tyne ( in a move that will spell the end of shipbuilding at Swan's.

It was immediately greeted with dismay by supporters and politicians, who said they would be pressing Defence Secretary Des Browne to ensure North Tyneside was not left to suffer the consequences.

The Journal exclusively revealed last week that Procurement Minister Lord Drayson had signed off on the plans to float the Lyme Bay out of the Tyne after months of negotiation with both yards.

The MoD, who last night refused to confirm or deny the speculation, has become increasingly concerned about the spiralling costs of the dock landing ship contract, which has now cost taxpayers almost pounds 500m.

Now, though, MPs are to be formally told of the news in the Commons today, with Newcastle and Wallsend MP Nick Brown ( who fought against ministers to keep the Lyme Bay on Tyneside ( admitting it was a disappointing day.

"It will not be possible to finish the work on the Lyme Bay on Tyneside but it is important that we move on from that contract and secure a future for North Tyneside and its industrial base," he told The Journal.

"We need to look to the future."

Mr Brown is hoping to hold further meetings with defence ministers over future decommissioning work for Swan Hunter as well as developing industrial land between the yard and the Walker Technology Park.

"I and others fought very hard to protect the interests of the workforce, the apprentices and the shipbuilding community. …

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