Nov 6 - BAE Systems is axing 1775 jobs in the UK, bringing an end to more than five centuries of ship building in Portsmouth - the home of Britain's Royal Navy. It follows a significant drop in demand but, as Hayley Platt reports, some say the decision is also political.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**No access all domestic and international channels distributed in UK & Eire on Sky/Virgin/Freeview; BBC/BSKYB GROUP : No access worldwide any media; INTERNET: No access.co.uk web sites and all websites principally targeted at the UK and/or Eire; MOBILE: No access worldwide; NO USE AFTER 30 DAYS ON ALL PLATFORMS - for re-use contact sales[at]itnsource.com They've been building ships in Portsmouth for more than 500 years - not any more. BAE Systems is axing nearly 1800 jobs in the UK - most of them in the home of the Royal Navy. (SOUNDBITE) (English): UNIDENTIFIED BAE WORKERS IN PORTSMOUTH, SAYING: "We were sort of expecting it, it's a sad day for shipbuilding." (SOUNDBITE) (English): UNIDENTIFIED BAE WORKERS IN PORTSMOUTH, SAYING: "It's going to affect the whole of Portsmouth if this place shuts." Ship building will continue on the River Clyde in Glasgow, but even there 835 jobs are going. Defence Minister Philip Hammond says there simply won't be enough work once a contract to build new aircraft carriers is completed next year. (SOUNDBITE) (English): PHILIP HAMMOND, DEFENCE MINISTER, SAYING: "The loss of such a significant number of jobs is of course regrettable but was always going to be inevitable as the workload associated with the carrier build comes to an end." The company says the decision is a business one but many believe politics played a part. Scotland votes on independence next year - significant job losses would have played into the hands of those who support the move. Whatever the reason one former Admiral believes the decision could have significant repercussions. (SOUNDBITE) (English): Admiral Lord WEST, Former First Sea Lord, saying: "'If they are a separate country we would not build our war ships there, we would need to build them in England, because as a taxpayer there's no way I want 3.5 billion pounds of my money spent in a separate country. I want to spend it in my own country." To soften the blow the government is planning to invest 100 million pounds in Portsmouth's dockyard so it can continue to repair and maintain ships.