IN the year 2006 BAE was celebrated as politicians welcomed back into surface shipbuilding.

Furness MP John Hutton, Labour councillor and leader of Barrow Borough Council Terry Waiting and county councillor Jack Richardson hailed the announcement that shipbuilding would continue as a great boost to the Barrow economy.

Mr Hutton said: “I am delighted with yesterday’s announcement.

“It recognises the talents and skills there are in the shipyard here in Barrow.

“It is a tribute to what the personnel at all levels in the shipyard have been able to achieve over the past few years.

“There have been difficulties with some projects and difficult decisions de, with some changes being challenging for all concerned.

“The work on the carrier is, of course, important in its own right and the message the allocation of that work sends to the Barrow shipyard should not be missed.

“It is recognition that the yard is heading in the right direction and is a facility the Ministry of Defence has confidence in placing vitally important works with.

“That confidence has been won by the workforce and management at all levels, delivering what the customer needs.”

Mr Hutton also paid tribute to the local Keep Our Future Afloat Campaign (KOFAC) which had helped ensure there was ‘continued awareness’ of what Barrow had to offer.

Mr Hutton also said: “Although it is clearly a challenging programme to deliver, I am confident Barrow can play its part in this programme and the opportunity to do so has been won by the hard work of the people in Barrow yard.

“Yesterday was a good day for Furness, and provided a very positive signal for the future.”

Labour councillor Terry Waiting, leader of Barrow Borough Council and chairman of KOFAC said: “It’s excellent news for the yard and a tremendous vote of confidence by the government in the work force. They’ve worked so hard to maker sure they got Astute back on programme.”