View from City Road: A shipyard destined to sink
Thursday 21 July 1994
Indeed, once that emotional link with the past has been severed, it will be easier to shift the focus to rebuilding the region. Swan Hunter may have had a great history and a skilled workforce, and its great days are commemorated in many wonderful grainy photographs in the archives. But the same can be said of Rosyth and Devonport. Nostalgia is no reason to keep open a shipyard.
It is harsh on those who have lost jobs, but there are simply too many shipyards chasing too few orders. Cuts in European Union subsidies and government spending made it inevitable that someone would draw the short straw.
New orders coming to European shipyards are plummeting. European yards are typically 20 per cent more expensive than their main competitors, Korea and Japan.
Swan Hunter's tender for the vital Sir Bedivere refit contract was pounds 10m above that of the winner, Rosyth, a large gap given that the size of the order was only pounds 40m. That says something about the yard's productivity.
Furthermore, companies have not exactly been queuing up to buy Swan Hunter. Only CMN, the French group, is prepared to buy it and then with guaranteed work for only about two years.
Rival British shipbuilders were not interested in Swan Hunter because it was outdated, the inevitable result of a long period of under-investment.
Like Corby or Consett, once dependent on single industries, Tyneside is being re-built around a diversified economy. The closure of Swan Hunter should be seen as part of that transition. The Government should help to soften the blow, but was right not to bail out a sinking ship.
South Korea ferry passengers who were told to stay put 'got trapped' aboard sinking ship
Are beards attractive? Ryan Gosling says yes, but science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge and find out who's right
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness 'unqualified' to testify
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
- 5 Mrs Doubtfire 2: Robin Williams set to star in sequel to 1993 comedy
iJobs Money & Business
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...