04/03/2014 - Rolls Royce to close Portsmouth plant

Rolls Royce’s has anounced the closure of its manufacturing plant in Portsmouth, endangering around 80 jobs.

The plant specialises in manufacturing electrical equipment for the Navy and provided components for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which are currently nearing completion.

Rolls Royce said it had decided to close Portsmouth because of a lack of future business. Staff have been informed of the decision and a period of consultation with the unions will begin shortly.

In November, BAE Systems announced the end shipbuilding at Portsmouth with the loss of 940 staff and 170 agency posts.

In January David Cameron wrote an open letter published in the local paper The News in which he declared:

"For centuries shipbuilding in Portsmouth has been woven into the history of Britain.

"It is a tradition of which the whole country is rightly proud - and I completely understand the intensity of feeling here is stronger still.

"I make this pledge to you today: this government will do everything we can to protect the future of the shipyard and the livelihoods of the people who work there.

"In the months ahead we are going to go all out to make sure that it remains strong, successful, and respected around the world.

"I am not sugar coating the challenges ahead but with determination, resolve, and sheer political will, this city can and will come through stronger the other side.

"I promise you that we will do everything in our power to make sure it does."

The announcement of job losses at Rolls Royce, however, indicate that the warm words have yet to be followed by effective action.

Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, said:

"Cameron made promises and even appointed a Minister for Portsmouth but the Rolls Royce job losses cast his sincerity into doubt. The people of Portsmouth need jobs not empty promises."