A Labour government would ensure that military ships will be built in this country, the party's Shadow Defence Secretary has pledged.
John Healey told a meeting at the Labour Party annual conference in Liverpool that the first principal for military procurement would be "built in Britain".
"That has to be the strategy. We have world-class skills in the industry and 29,000 jobs directly depend on defence spending," he said.
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Ian Waddell, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions General Secretary, told the meeting that the UK was at a "fork in the road" for the future of the shipbuilding industry.
A contract is currently out to tender to build fleet support vessels, which could lead to more ships being built, he said.
WATCH: HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in New York.
A UK bid is facing competition from a number of overseas companies in countries including Spain, Holland and India.
"Why would you not give that work to the UK? Why would you not support our shipyards and coastal communities?
"The work would also give us the platform to build massive offshore wind farms," Mr Waddell added.
The CSEU has written to the Government, saying: "The CSEU believes the planned Fleet Solid Support Ships programme, to build support ships for our aircraft carriers, is strategically important for the industry and the country.
"The contract, which will be worth £1.5bn, will see a return of £355m in tax returns to the Exchequer and will safeguard 40,000 jobs in every shipyard in the UK.
"This investment will pump prime our regional economies and support our high street businesses.
"It will also maintain the skills and workforce required to carry out the next phase of naval procurement."