Trudy joins defence secretary at BAE Systems visit for billion pound announcement

The Secretary of State for Defence has today joined Trudy Harrison MP for a visit to BAE Systems in Barrow to announce a £2.5bn contract for the delivery of its Royal Navy Submarine programmes.

The announcement, which will see delivery of the seventh Astute class submarine as well as a further £900m investment for the next phase of the Dreadnought submarine programme, was made during today’s site visit with Trudy and Barrow-in-Furness MP, John Woodcock.

During his visit, the Defence Secretary named the seventh and final submarine in the Astute class as Agincourt.

He also formally opened a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, marking the latest development in a major infrastructure investment programme at the Company’s Barrow site. 

Mrs Harrison, said: “Barrow’s skyline is dominated by the BAE facility, this is my first visit, and it was an incredible honour to meet the workforce, particularly the apprentices who beamed with pride as they explained their roles in submarine construction.

“Our defence capability is the envy of the world, the advance skills in submarine design and construction were on show for us.  Barrow is renowned for its shipbuilding heritage, today we celebrated the skills of the future and the Yard’s significance in ensuring the long term safety of our nation and global peacekeeping mission.”

Certain phases of construction for the Dreadnought class will take place at the new Central Yard Facility, which includes production, workshop and office facilities, measuring 180m long, 90m wide and 44m high.  

Construction on the first of four new Dreadnought submarines started in October 2016 and this latest funding will support ongoing design and build activities, procurement of materials and investment in new and existing facilities for a further 12 months.  

Defence secretary, Gavin Williamson CBE MP, said: “I was delighted to meet up with Trudy while visiting BAE to announce the Government’s £2.5bn investment in nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy.

“This multi-billion-pound investment in our nuclear submarines shows our unwavering commitment to keeping the UK safe and secure from intensifying threats. HMS Agincourt will complete the Royal Navy’s seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs, the most powerful to ever enter British service, whilst our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate defence against the most extreme dangers we could possibly face.

“Not only is this a massive boost for our armed forces, but it’s huge for Barrow, the heart of sub-building in this country. Today’s news supports around 8,000 BAE Systems submarine jobs, as well as thousands more in the supply chain, protecting prosperity and providing opportunity right across the country.”

The Dreadnought programme already employs more than 2,600 people across MOD and industry, including 1,800 at BAE Systems.

During the visit, Mrs Harrison who is also an Apprenticeship Ambassador, was provided with the opportunity to meet a group of BAE apprentices.

Mrs Williamson, added: “In her role as Apprentice Ambassador I know Trudy is passionate about supporting young people after

meeting some of BAE’s apprentices to celebrate the 12,000 apprenticeships provided by the UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries.

“These apprentices are fantastic ambassadors for the region, working towards highly-skilled careers in the nuclear industry.”