THE future of Barrow's shipyard has been secured following a historic vote to renew the UK's nuclear weapons programme which will be carried onboard four submarines.

MPs last night voted overwhelmingly in favour of a government motion to renew the Trident missile system, carried onboard four Barrow-built submarines. Following a passionate six-hour debate, 117 MPs voted against Trident while 472 voted in favour.

READ MORE: Read our live coverage of the debate and vote as it happened

Speaking exclusively to the Evening Mail within minutes of the result being announced, Tony Johns, managing director of BAE Systems Submarines said he had been glued to his TV throughout the duration of the debate.

However, he said the atmosphere at the shipyard had been very much business as usual for the 7,000 workers.

"Everyone has been focusing on getting on with their job but I also think people will be glad this is out of the way," he said.

"We knew this was something that had to occur before we could move on. It has been a generational decision, it is the biggest decision for the shipyard in the last 25 years."

Mr Johns said over the next four to five years, the 1,700-strong workforce tasked on the Successor programme would grow to 5,000 and the skyline of Barrow would continue to grow and develop to meet the changing needs of the shipyard.

During last night's debate, MPs debated the cost, moral implications and effectiveness of continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent. Throughout the design, construction and contingency of the Successor programme, costs are set to exceed £45bn.

Mr Johns added: "It's a really important national decision, I am glad it was properly debated, the quality was good and I'm delighted that the result is as it was.

"This is a significant decision but it is not a blank cheque... we have got to perform. We have to focus on that every single day."

After the result, Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “This is a great victory for the whole of Furness and I want to pay tribute to the whole community which has fought for so long for this day. I am very proud to have been able to play my part in our campaign to secure the future of the shipyard and keep high-skill jobs in Barrow for decades to come.

“This vote puts the successor programme past the point of no return and focus must now turn to how we make the most of this new investment to spread prosperity and opportunity across Furness.”


The shipyard in Barrow is five years into the design phase with the procurement of long lead items under way - including key large machinery, electrical equipment, castings and forgings;

At peak, BAE Systems anticipates having between 5,000 and 6,000 working on the Successor programme and more than 9,000 in the submarines business in total;

At present, more than 1,700 people are working on the Successor programme, with 180 having been recruited in 2015;

Every year BAE pays £250m in wages to those employed in its submarines business - the vast majority of which goes to the Barrow workforce.


The Trident system consists of three elements - submarines, missiles and warheads.

Britain currently has four Vanguard submarines capable of storing and firing nuclear missiles. One of the four is always at sea and armed for attack, one is always undergoing maintenance, and the other two are kept in port or used for training.

The submarines can carry a maximum of eight missiles and a total of 40 warheads. The UK has a stockpile of 120 nuclear warheads that are operationally available. This is down from 160 in 2010.

The UK currently possesses around 1% of the total global stockpile of nuclear weapons.

The decision to acquire the Trident system was made in 1980 and the first Vanguard nuclear-armed submarine entered service in 1994. They are due to reach the end of their working lives in the late 2020s.


EXPERTS have described how a town’s property market is driven by mass employment at its “heartbeat” company.

David Corrie, of South Cumbria’s Corrie and Co estate agents, predicts a boom in Barrow as a result of the Trident Successor programme being given the go-ahead.

At peak, BAE Systems anticipates having 5,000 to 6,000 people working on its new submarines, and those who come to the town to do so will need somewhere to stay.

Mr Corrie likened the expected upturn to that experienced in 1990, when many people came to the town to work on the previous Trident programme.

He said: “It has a significant impact on both the rental market and the house sales market because we‘ll have a combination of people who are here perhaps three to five years, who may rent rather than buy, and then there will be those who see what the area is about and decide to stay even when their employment changes.

“On top of those who come in to the town to work for BAE itself, you’re also looking at those who come to join the supply chain. It’s a major economic boost. BAE is the heartbeat of our area.”

Mr Corrie’s views are shared by experts at up-and-coming property developer, Blake Henderson, which renovates Barrow buildings to bring more high quality accommodation onto the market.

Andi Cooke is founder of the firm, which is responsible for ambitious projects including a move to convert two historic town centre pubs - the Wheatsheaf and the Crystal Palace.

Mr Cooke said: “There are other big companies around, but really BAE is the driving force to all that. Without a big company like that in the town, we perhaps wouldn’t be giving so much in to the community, and the investment that goes into this goes through the local supply chains as well because we’re using local people and local resources.

“I know BAE are very pleased with the amount of refurbishment we’ve put into these properties, because it fits with their philosophy to regenerate the area they work in.”


BUSINESS leaders involved in supporting BAE Systems as it prepares its four Successor submarines have described the company’s role in the town as “absolutely critical”.

The shipbuilders are openly committed to enhancing the economy of Barrow and Furness, and use a host of South Cumbrian suppliers to ensure their operations run smoothly. As well as employing the likes of Leck Construction for its building and infrastructure needs, BAE has strong working links with the town’s Scurrah Nassau (SN) Group.

Tony Keen is managing director of the group, which assists the submarine giants with a range of engineering requirements and provides support equipment.

He said: “We do a significant amount of work with them - we’re not solely reliant on them but they‘re a major part of our turn-over.

“We’re all in the same boat at the end of the day. They’re such a big organisation in the town, they’re absolutely critical to us, and if the vote had gone the wrong way it would have been terrible for many people.”

The impact of BAE on the area’s industries reaches far beyond the traditional engineering, manufacturing and construction companies that might first spring to mind. Defence ministers have promised yesterday’s vote will mean an additional investment of “hundreds of millions of pounds” on top of £350m already earmarked for the town.

Phil Collier, chairman of the Furness branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “I’m very passionate about the supply chain opportunities for smaller businesses. I don’t just mean engineering-type companies - the businesses people logically think about when they think ‘BAE supply chain’ - but the impact on the town centre, the retail and the hospitality side of things.

“There will be a move for people to permanently move here and base themselves here, so we’ll automatically be expanding and developing the level of business expertise in the area. A lot of those people will be relatively young, just graduated, middle-management who will come here and stay here and help grow the economy in the long term, not just for now.”

Welcoming the outcome of yesterday’s vote, which established the future of BAE for many years to come, Mr Collier added: “They’re hugely important to the town - we can’t understate the role they play. Yes, there are other manufacturing and infrastructure projects happening in the area - GSK, Dong’s Walney windfarm extension - but within Barrow itself, for me, for the underpinning stability and the future of Barrow, BAE and the success of Trident is absolutely vital.

“I really think, now this vote has gone through, Barrow and the Furness area is actually going to be one of the major places to live and work in this country.”


A WINDFALL of hundreds of millions of pounds is to come to the area after the renewal of Trident.

The vote was carried late last night to ensure Barrow will be the centre of UK shipbuilding for the next two decades at least. What that means for the community is continued investment and more money in people's pockets.

Last week it was revealed that BAE Systems contributes £250 million every year to the local economy through wages alone. On top of this, hundreds of millions of pounds from the government will begin to flow into the town as part of the Trident replacement programme.

Local businesses are already feeling the benefit of the expansion. Electrical wholesaler Edmundson Electrical, in Ashburner Way, Barrow, are set to grow their Barrow site as part of a five year £900,000 investment plan.

Sales representative Lewis Pearson has said this comes at a time when the business is feeling confident about the future of Barrow.

He said: "It is a sign that we are doing well. It is a sign for the future and it is also a sign of the present with all the opportunities in this area."

David Stewart, the business' manager added: "Expansion should create at least three new roles. We are investing here because of all the investment in Barrow. We have great confidence for the future."

The confidence of the staff at Edmundson Electrical partly stems from the current expansion of BAE's operation in the town. BAE are currently undergoing a £300 million pound expansion which will raise the total number of workers in the yard by 2,000.

Activists such as Barrow MP John Woodcock and representatives from the Keep Our Future Afloat campaign will be relieved the livelihood of their constituents and union members have been secured for come, as well as the future prosperity of their town.