On 8 February, Kevan spoke in a debate on the future of UK naval shipbuilding.
During the debate, Kevan asked:
“A basic question needs to be asked about shipbuilding: do we want sovereign capability to produce complex warships in this country—yes or no? It is a very simple question that the Government need to answer to give reassurance about the future of the jobs and technical expertise.”
Kevan went on to raise concerns about how the Government’s inertia on developing a clear shipbuilding strategy could have a national impact, saying:
“Our supply chain goes way beyond the Clyde—there is a national footprint of companies in leading-edge technologies. We need to ask whether we want those skills in this country or whether we will just buy from abroad.”
Later in his speech Kevan spoke about the Government’s overall management of the defence budget. He said:
“The Government need to be honest about where they are with the equipment budget.
“Labour got lectures from the incoming coalition Government about how frugal they would be, in terms of ensuring that they did not over-commit on defence, but they are clearly doing that now. The shipbuilding strategy needs to be published soon.
“If we are going to answer yes to the question, “Do we want a sovereign capability for shipbuilding in this country?”, we will have to put the money behind it and ensure that the work is of a nature that allows the industry to develop its skills and retain that capability.”
To watch Kevan’s speech in full, or to read the debate, click on the links below: