Southampton City Council has vowed to give full support to local families and communities if the government forces the end of shipbuilding on the South Coast.

Earlier this week the council joined the city of Portsmouth, trade unions, MPs and industrial groups in a united front to back the Campaign for South Coast Shipbuilding, which is fully supported by the Daily Echo.

The campaign has been launched amid fears that Southampton warship builder Vosper Thornycroft could see work on the new Type 45 destroyer, promised to the yard last summer, handed over to Scottish yards.

At the moment up to 650 men at VT's base in Woolston are facing redundancy while union leader estimate hundreds more employees in associated industries across Hampshire could lose their jobs as the result of the threatened government move.

June Bridle, leader of Southampton City Council, said: "If the worst case scenario becomes a reality, the city council will work hard to minimise the impact of job losses on Woolston and the city as a whole.

"We will support the workers, their families and the whole Woolston business community which will be affected by the loss.

"The council hopes the government will recognise that removing competition from this vital manufacturing sector contradicts its stated policy and is against both the economic interests of the South, and also the wider national interest."

Mrs Bridle also backed the claims made by the trade unions over jobs losses.

"If the decision is taken to move the entire Type 45 contract to Scotland, it is not just jobs that will be lost.

"Skills and know-how built up in this region over much of the last century will be squandered and the future of a company, which has built up an international reputation for leading-edge shipbuilding, will be seriously threatened.

"The South Coast has a strong tradition in ship construction and Southampton has been a proud home to Vosper Thornycroft's shipyard for most of the last century.

"VT employees are not the only ones who will suffer if the firm fails to win its fair share of the design and construction work for the Type 45 build programme.

"The livelihoods of many companies in central southern England which support VT will also be put under threat.''

Another aim of the campaign is to pressure the government into making a quick decision over a Ministry of Defence contract to build new patrol craft for the Royal Navy.

"The fact that this would secure the immediate futures of many workers makes a compelling economic and moral case for the government to give the company this contract.''