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Appledore Shipyard to shut putting 200 jobs at risk

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A shipyard is to shut despite its owner being offered a £60m contract by the MoD.

Staff at Appledore Shipyard in Devon have been told by owner Babcock that it will close by the end of March 2019.

The company recently lost a contract with the Armed Forces of Malta, causing financial difficulties.

Babcock said all 199 workers will be offered a move to Devonport Dockyard, also owned by the firm, 45 miles (72km) away.

‘We want answers’

The GMB union said it wanted answers from the government and from Babcock about the £60m package from the government which would have offered extra work at Devonport.

Babcock had said the extra work would not be enough to secure the future of Appledore.

Some workers at Appledore had been temporarily redeployed to Devonport since the news of the lost contract came through.

A “Save Appledore Shipyard” petition has been signed by more than 9,000 people, and was handed in at the House of Commons on Tuesday.

In a letter sent to Devon MP Geoffrey Cox before the announcement of the closure was made, Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Defence, said he had received “no assurances from Babcock that the company would keep the yard open if help were offered by the MoD”.

The future of Appledore remained “a commercial decision for the company”, he added.

In a statement, engineering firm Babcock said it very much regretted having to take this course of action and recognised the impact it will have on its workforce.

“The company will now engage in a consultation period, working closely with its employees and their trade unions representatives during this difficult time,” it added.

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