THE wider Solent economy would be badly hit by the end of shipbuilding at Portsmouth Dockyard costing nearly 4,000 jobs, a new study has forecast.

A report commissioned by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership assesses different scenarios for the future of the dockyard as BAE Systems reviews its operations there.

The end of shipbuilding at the historic dockyard, which supports 19,775 jobs in the region, would result in about 3,925 job losses, including an estimated 1,300 directly linked to Portsmouth Naval Base.

The base employs about 3,750 military and civilian staff. The vast majority work for BAE.

The report found that every £1m directly generated by the base stimulates another £750,000 of spending in the wider Solent economy Solent LEP chairman Doug Morrison said: “The report shows the current importance that the dockyard has to the entire Solent economy – not just Portsmouth.

“Regardless of any decision made in relation to shipbuilding operations in Portsmouth, shipbuilding is likely to reduce as the current contract to build two new aircraft carriers, the scale of which this country has not seen before, comes to an end.

“The report shows just how big this impact could be if we do nothing to mitigate the effects – both in terms of employment at the dockyard, and the survival of the many SMEs supported through the supply chain.”

In the worst case scenario examined by the study, maritime services would continue and the present complement of destroyers and six frigates remain in Portsmouth, joined by two new aircraft carriers under construction, but shipbuilding ceases and work is shared by two yards in Scotland.

BAE is reviewing its warship business after a 14 per cent fall in sales last year as military spending is cut in both the US and the UK.

The report, by University of Portsmouth business school, warns: “The brunt of any change would impact upon the urban areas of South Hampshire, where most of the current workforce resides.

“However, because of the multiplier effect the impact would be felt across almost all sectors of the LEP economy.”