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The Keep our Future Afloat Campaign (KOFAC) was formed in April 2004 in Barrow by UNITE,GMB, Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria County Council and NWDA as a trade union and local community led group  to further the interests of naval shipbuilding in the North West of England.

The KOFAC campaign is non-political.It uses well argued business cases for new investment in the industry and its skills base to influence industry and government leaders, shadow Ministers, the wider public, local authorities and media. 

Since 2004 it has established itself as an influential champion of the UK submarine industrial base and the warship building capabilities of the nation.

The urrent focus is on ensuring the successor submarine progreamme proceeds apace.

The main thrust of the KOFAC lobby campaign, can be read in the "2013-2015 KOFAC Strategy and Action Plan" simply click on the box to the left to see it. You will see it includes proposals to secure:

  • A steady flow of naval shipbuilding and submarine orders for Barrow and Birkenhead shipyards to provide the Royal Navy with the subamrines and ships it needs;
  • the key skills and knowledge base in the industry;
  • Retention of UK sovereignty over naval shipbuilding and national strategic capability to design, build and operate complex warships and nuclear powered submarines for the Royal Navy;
  • promote the capabilities of the defence sector as being nationally important as a wealth creator .

KOFAC tactics for implementation of its strategy and action plan are summarised below:
- raising awareness of the scale of the industry and what it is able to deliver by engaging intensivly;
- researching/producing well argued papers to inform the nation about the importance of the industry;
- exhibiting regularily at political party conferences of the party in power;
- attends industry events and delivey of an annual submarine industry day in the House of Commons;

KOFAC also provides its own input to  Select Committee Inquiries, Defence policy reviews, on supply chain issues,potential mergers and other forms of industrial base change.

It promotes the sheer scale of the defence industrial supply chain so essential for providing the MoD with its conflict fighting and prevention capability.

KOFAC's influential campaigning has resulted in a number of plaudits, for example:-

  • September 2006 - Lord Drayson,  "you do realise how effective you are" when meeting the KOFAC campaign team at a Labour Party Conference;
  • 13 December 2005  - The Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, Minister for Industry and the Regions said “this (KOFAC) type of approach by management, trade unions and the local authority is very powerful”;
  • September 2004 -  Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP,  your lobby is “one of the most effective defence lobbies  I have come across.”

The Documents Section of this website contains examples of the campaign's material.

The main parts to this website are as follows:

1.   Home Pages describe:

  • The aims of KOFAC.
  • Scope of the UK’s future warship programmes. 
  • Shipyard locations and capabilities.
  • Barrow’s strategic role, in shipbuilding and how Barrow can help ensure the programmes are delivered on time.
  • Where Barrow shipyard stands in European terms.
  • Opportunities associated with the Ministry of Defence's submarine, warship and 'warlike' shipbuilding programmes.

Please click here to view our recent lobby documents.

2.   Northwest Shipbuilding describes the:

  • capacity and capability of the northwest of England’s shipyards.
  • The contribution the region's shipbuilding resources can make to UK warship programmes and why such resources, particularly those located at Barrow in Furness, are a key part of the UK Defence Industrial Base.
  • The capacity and capability of the shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness, and why it must be exploited.

3.   UK Warships

  • Summarises the different types of warship and submarine  to be delivered for the Royal Navy.

4.   Defence Policy

  • Outlines the UK policy issues affecting  naval shipbuilding and KOFAC's views on how it needs to eveolve, be funded and implemented.

5.    News

  • The News section gives you up to the minute news about KOFAC campaign's activities, records achievements of north west England's naval shipyards and how the naval shipbuilding programmes are progressing.
  • The Parliamentary News sub-section helps you find out what MPs' and Lords have said recently in Hansard and Parliamentary Reports to Select Committees.

We are delighted that Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership supports development of naval shipbuilding civil and defence nuclear activity as a key advanced engineering industry within the north west of England.

The KOFAC Secretariat can be contacted on
01229314100/07836254721 or email



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Contact Us

Emlyn Hughes House,
Abbey Road,
Barrow in Furness,
Cumbria LA145PQ

Tel: +44 (0)1229 314100

Email: stuart@fedf.co.uk

KOFAC Sept Newsletter
Keep Our Future Afloat
The Future Aircraft Carrier
More Downloads

All downloads are in Adobe pdf format

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"Barrow remains an untapped source of production capability and could... play a significant role in the coming shipbuilding programme."

Source: Rand, page 153 The UK's Naval Shipbuilding Industrial Base (2005), Report to UK MoD

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