Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has praised the work carried out at BAE Systems’ Barrow shipyard after a private visit to the town.

Mr Wallace visited Barrow recently and was given a tour of the shipyard to see how it has risen to meet the challenges of maintaining critical output during the coronavirus pandemic.

Its work is vital to national security and had to continue so the armed forces remain operationally effective at all times.

He was shown the work the company has carried out to comply with Government guidelines and keep its staff safe during the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Wallace has also spoken to chief executive Charles Woodburn.

Mr Wallace said: “The UK is fortunate that our defence industry and its key workers are stepping up to support the Government at this critical time. Not only have they been donating their expertise and equipment, but maintaining their critical outputs during the ongoing pandemic.

“I heard how BAE Systems in Barrow have rapidly and innovatively adopted new practices to ensure their vital work can continue – in line with Government guidelines – keeping both their employees and our nation safe, today and in the future.

“At the beginning of the outbreak in March, defence companies worked alongside Ministry of Defence staff as part of the Ventilator Challenge to produce thousands of ventilators for the NHS.

“Since then, hundreds of thousands of Personal Protective Equipment items, including face shields, aprons and surgical gloves, have been donated to health and social care staff. “