EFFORTS are being stepped up to land aircraft carrier repair work for Inverclyde after it was confirmed that Inchgreen is in the running for work.

The UK Government has confirmed that the Greenock dry dock is on the shortlist for the Ministry of Defence contract for the maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth class vessels.

Now west of Scotland Labour MSP, Neil Bibby, and the party's general election candidate for Inverclyde, Martin McCluskey, are pushing for Inchgreen to be awarded the contract.

The Greenock site - the biggest mainland dry dock in the UK - is among five places in the UK where such work could take place and bosses from owners Peel Ports, the compamny which owns Clydeport, have confirmed that they have submitted an offer.

A decision on the successful bidder will be made by the end of the year.

Mr McCluskey said: "People across Inverclyde were rightly furious when the cranes came down at Inchgreen last year.

"The focus now has to be on the future for the site and providing a long-term sustainable solution that brings jobs and opportunities to the area.

"Now that the UK Government has confirmed that a decision will be made by the end of the year, there is an opportunity to make our voices heard and to make the case for Inverclyde to take on this work.

"Were the bid to be successful it would mean jobs for people in our community and a long term future for the dry dock.

"When the carriers were being built, hundreds of people from Inverclyde travelled every day to Rosyth to work on them.

"Instead of having to travel to Rosyth or Glasgow for these jobs, it's about time some came to our own area.

"Every effort must be made to bring these jobs to Inverclyde."

Mr McCluskey and Mr Bibby met with Peel chiefs at the company's Clydeport office in Glasgow recently to discuss the bid.

The MSP said: "Inchgreen is a site with significant untapped potential, not just for the Inverclyde economy but for the national economy too.

"It's about time the Scottish Government and its agencies recognised that and ensured that Inchgreen was properly promoted and prioritised.

"This is the second longest dry dock in the country and one of only five sites in the UK that could provide dry-docking facilities to the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

"If Inchgreen were to become the preferred location for dry-docking the carriers then it would bring substantial investment and new job opportunities to Inverclyde.

"There are plenty of other contracts that could be coming to Inchgreen too.

"This dry dock is an economic asset and, as far as the community is concerned, it is an asset that has been underutilised for too long.

"Inchgreen can have a promising future if the owners have the vision, the will and the support they need from government to make it happen."