UUP calls on Boris Johnson to come to aid of Harland and Wolff

Harland and Wolff shipyard
Harland and Wolff shipyard
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The Ulster Unionist Party has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several Stormont departments to provide financial support for Harland and Wolff shipyard.

More than 100 jobs remain in the balance as the shipyard continues to try to find a buyer.

The company which employs around 130 people has been up for sale since the end of last year and had hoped to have completed the sales process by this time.

The News Letter understands that a series of meetings have taken place recently between Harland and Wolff management, union reps, Invest NI and senior political figures.

UUP MLA Andy Allen MBE MLA said letters signed by him, party Leader Robin Swann MLA, finance spokesperson Steve Aiken, and economy spokesperson Alan Chambers have been sent to the new Prime Minister, Invest NI and the permanent secretaries at the Department of the Economy and Department of Finance calling for support.

The East Belfast Assemblyman stated: ““Harland & Wolff is a company which is known worldwide, renowned for a high standard of workmanship having constructed some of the largest and most prestigious ocean liners ever built.

“The yard has been a part of the fabric of East Belfast and Northern Ireland for decades and in order to help secure its long-term future, the company is seeking a financial assistance package so that it can remain solvent until the end of August.

“Availability of this funding would, we are given to understand, provide the company with sufficient time to establish the outcome of a number of active contractual bids, which will be determined in mid-August. These contracts, which the company are confident they can secure, will have a major bearing on the future viability of the shipyard and its attractiveness for future purchasers.

“It is imperative that the long-term future of Harland and Wolff - which has a rich history in terms of heavy industry and manufacturing, and is also a key part of our fast growing tourism industry - is secured not only for its employees, but Belfast and the wider Northern Ireland economy as a whole.

“We have therefore urged the Prime Minster, Invest NI and local Stormont Departments to take steps to help achieve a satisfactory conclusion and keep the shipyard open.”