Today I am providing an update on our plans for the next stage of the Fleet Solid Support ship programme.

I am pleased to announce that Team Resolute has been selected as the preferred bidder to provide three solid support ships for the Royal Navy. This appointment follows on from the award to BAE Systems in Glasgow of the £4 billion contract for five Type 26 frigates earlier this week. Both are good news for UK shipyards and the skill base.

Team Resolute, comprising Harland & Wolff, BMT and Navantia UK will, subject to final approvals from Ministers and HM Treasury, be awarded a contract worth £1.6 billion (before inflation) to manufacture the crucial vessels providing munitions, stores and provisions to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates deployed at sea. The contract will deliver more than 1,000 UK shipyard jobs, generate hundreds of graduate and apprentice opportunities across the UK and a significant number of further jobs throughout the supply-chain. Team Resolute has pledged to invest £77 million in shipyard infrastructure to support the UK shipbuilding sector.

Blocks and modules for the ships will be constructed at Harland & Wolff’s facilities in Belfast and Appledore, and this work will also support a significant UK-based supply chain. Some build work will also take place at Navantia’s shipyard in Cadiz in Spain, in a collaboration allowing for key skills and technology transfer to the UK from a world-leading shipbuilder.

The entire final assembly will be completed at Harland & Wolff’s shipyard in Belfast, to Bath-based BMT’s British design.

The awarding of the contract will see jobs created and work delivered in Appledore, Devon, Harland & Wolff Belfast and within the supply chain up and down the country. This announcement is good news for the UK shipbuilding industry. It will strengthen and secure the UK shipbuilding enterprise as set out in the National Shipbuilding Strategy.