Cammell Laird closure to end Mersey shipbuilding

THE DEATH KNELL sounded for shipbuilding on Merseyside yesterday with the announcement that the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead will close next year. Nine hundred jobs will be lost in an area where unemployment is running at 11.8 per cent.

Cammell's owner, VSEL, blamed the closure after 160 years on the recession and the refusal of the Government and European Commission to grant subsidies.

VSEL warned two years ago that Cammell would close once its warship order book was completed, unless a buyer was found to convert the yard into a merchant ship builder.

The closure of the yard, which employed 40,000 in its heyday, will mark the end of an era.

The yard built its first vessel, an iron barge, in 1828. Some of Britain's most famous ships have rolled down the slipway, including the first Ark Royal aircraft carrier, two of the four Polaris nuclear missile submarines - Revenge and Renown - and the Conqueror, the nuclear-powered submarine that sank the Belgrano during the Falklands war.

Noel Davies, chief executive, blamed the demise principally on the EC and Government's refusal to allow Cammell access to the shipbuilding intervention fund. It did not qualify because it was designated a warship yard at privatisation, but Mr Davies said it could have been sold three times over had it been eligible.

Other factors were the recession, which dissuaded potential buyers, and uncertainty over the pounds 2bn Point of Ayr gas field development in Liverpool Bay, which would have provided orders.

Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, blamed the company, saying: 'We are not going to roll over and die because VSEL have decided that is best for them.' The yard's joint shop stewards committee will meet Wirral MPs next week to draw up plans to keep the yard alive.

The yard, one of the last remaining shipbuilders in Britain, is due to close in July once construction of a Royal Navy replenishment ship and the submarine Unicorn is complete.

VSEL hopes to redevelop the 154-acre site for mixed industrial, leisure, retail and housing use.

Jaguar will cut 200 jobs next year from the Radford engine building plant in Coventry.

The Post Office is to make 1,000 counter staff redundant, according to Peter Hain, Labour MP for Neath, with the bulk are expected in Wales. The Post Office denied a report in the Daily Mirror that it planned to shed up to 30,000 jobs, a sixth of the workforce.

Bitterness returns, page 2

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003