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     News 2005

Bright future ahead for BAE

Shipbuilding decline in Barrow has gone into reverse after years of gloom.

Agencies in the town trying to plan a better future in the face of 11,000 shipyard job losses since the late 1980s, have always said the yard remains a crucial part of the future.

Two years ago, shipyard bosses feared they would only build 'Astute' submarines and not surface ships.

Now their hopes for twin developments of new industry and waterfront development on the one hand alongside a revitalised shipyard, look like being vindicated.

The good news came through just as Furness Enterprise Agency in Barrow held a board meeting yesterday.

Furness Enterprise Agency chief executive Harry Knowles who with other Keep Our Future Afloat Campaign members and Furness MP John Hutton has lobbied a succession of ministers for more submarines orders and a return to surface shipbuilding.

Mr Knowles said:

"At one time it was highly unlikely that we would get any more surface ship work and now, bang, we are back in the business of surface ships and will build a central part of the aircraft carriers.

"Two years ago we thought we were just going to build submarines, so this is great.

"With the tremendous work done by the submarines managing director Murray Easton and the workforce helped by KOFAC, the government has now decided it will allocate work to Barrow."

Three years ago it was a different story after the massive delays and cost overruns on the Astute submarine programme were revealed.

Article by Richard Herbert, NW Evening Mail



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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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