Defence Secretary Michael Fallon today visited Defence facilities in Plymouth and Devonport, meeting key Royal Navy personnel and engaging with city officials and industrial partners over forthcoming investment plans to transform part of the naval base for commercial use.
The visit marks a number of important milestones for Devonport. During his tour, Mr Fallon saw first hand the area of the naval base which is due to become a prime location for the marine industry.
This follows the Government announcement of the City Deal earlier this year, which could bring investment worth £296 million to the region and create thousands more jobs for local people.
Mr Fallon spoke to trainees at the Navy’s home of recruit training HMS Raleigh, before travelling by landing craft to the Royal Navy’s amphibious warfare centre of excellence.
There he met members of 1st Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM). Combined with the Navy’s Devonport-based assault ships, 1AGRM provides the nation’s amphibious expertise.
Many of the Marines from the unit are currently deployed in RFA Argus as part of the UK’s effort against the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone.
Speaking from the Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland, which is undergoing a multimillion pound refit in the naval base, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to visit Devonport, the heart of the Royal Navy for generations.
The investment we are now making in the Naval base and through the City Deal will help support 25,000 defence and support jobs across the wider Devonport area that depend on defence.
Plymouth Council’s Cabinet meeting today is another step forward in locking in that potential.
In October the government awarded a £2.6 billion Maritime Support Delivery Framework contract which runs for five and a half years and safeguards up to 4,000 jobs.
In a further boost to the region, last month the Defence Secretary announced that two submarines, HMS Torbay and HMS Trenchant, will remain in Devonport until they are decommissioned in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
The announcement provided clarity and stability for the Submarine crews and their families, as well as for Defence businesses.
He also visited HMS Talent, an operational nuclear-powered submarine, and learned about how busy the vessel has been on operations and exercises in the last two years.
Press release, Image: UK Navy