During a recent visit to the BAE Systems shipyard in Glasgow, I had the opportunity to pose a critical question to Defence Secretary Grant Shapps regarding the future of Scottish shipbuilding.

Sitting in front of the second of eight Type 26 frigates, I asked Shapps, “Now, once this programme is done, can Scottish builders count on future work on Type 83 or Type 32, and with Scottish independence once again a talking point, will this workforce come to Scotland from the UK Government if Scotland were to be independent?”

Shapps began his response by acknowledging the current achievements of the Glasgow shipyards, stating, “This is a magnificent Type 26, HMS Cardiff, out the window behind us and I have just been having a look around some of the new build technology and the approach to building, it is fantastic.” He highlighted the global aspect of the shipbuilding industry in Scotland, referencing his recent visit to the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide where the Australian variant of the Type 26 frigate is being built.

“There’s a shed here called the Osborne, or location, where they’re learning backwards and bringing it in, some of the skills they’ve learned, into this programme here. So it’s already massive international collaboration, not just the Australians, but the Canadians too. Of course, we know there’s potentially other export markets as well or joint endeavours and joint ventures.”

Addressing whether Scottish shipyards can expect more work in the future, Shapps expressed optimism but also caution, noting, “So, I think my sense is, a really bright future for this shipyard and others in Scotland, sadly, all of which will be put at risk by some of the Scottish nationalist rhetoric, which seems to think that the 25,000 jobs which come from those who both work in the UK military, and are Scottish, and also who work in the industry.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Mark B
Mark B (@guest_818091)
5 days ago

If you increase the defence budget by 25-50% sure you are going to get new ships and probably new inward investment. Long term there will be shed loads of money spent where the ships are built. Boom times could relegate memories of decline to distant memories.

Paul Bestwick
Paul Bestwick (@guest_818157)
5 days ago

Well an increase to 2.5% of GDP, is an increase of no mor than 13.6% of the existing budget if that is taken as 2.2% less if it’s at 2.3% that 13% needs to be used to make sure that we don’t let any more current projects slip. That it addresses retention and recruitment (which includes remuneration and housing etc.) This doesn’t stop new projects being planned, but these should initiate post 2030 if at all possible.

Jon
Jon (@guest_818173)
4 days ago
Reply to  Paul Bestwick

If we take the government’s own figures, the extra money they will be putting in (if elected) is £20bn over a constant GDP budget, including extra support for Ukraine. That’s the total over the next 7 years. However it’s back loaded, so this year there is nothing and in the final year, 2030/31, it would be £6.3bn extra, a 7.7% increase on a stand-still budget. Next we have to ask, how much of the extra money has the government already spent along with the announcement? It includes an allocation of a further £10bn over the next decade to the munitions… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Jon
Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_818161)
5 days ago

Well as Sunak has said this morning:
“The highest priority of any Conservative government is to keep this country safe”
I’m so relieved Defence of the Realm wasn’t a lower priority-Just think of the mess we’d be in now…

Expat
Expat (@guest_818174)
4 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Yeah, I mean if we’d not had the Tories we would have had my pick on defence , Corbyn, he certainly knew where defence was on a list of priorities. 

Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_818271)
4 days ago
Reply to  Expat

yeah lets just celebrate we didn’t vote Corbyn in…rather than hold any one else to account for what they actually did…that’ll learn ’em…

Expat
Expat (@guest_818333)
4 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Not exactly weak opposition us the cause of week policy. When chlorinated chicken is higher priority in the election debate than defence then we get a government that’s weak on defence. I don’t like either party so not going to let either of them off the hook. Policy is cause and effect, weak opposition manifesto = weak government. Your reasoning is based on people voted tory because they wanted to, mine is they voted tory because it was the least worst option.

Aaron L
Aaron L (@guest_818335)
4 days ago
Reply to  Expat

100% agree on this. If you don’t have a strong opposition party (whoever it happens to be at the time) then the incumbent government can get away with whatever they like really.

MattW
MattW (@guest_818162)
4 days ago

Forgive me, but this is politics and waffle.

Shippy-Shappy knows that he and his colleagues are about to be handed their liquidised backsides in a squeeze tube at the next election, because we are at the “just make it stop” stage.

Current forecasts are that he will even lose his own seat.

He won’t be able to carry any of this out, and this is mere posturing.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_818164)
4 days ago
Reply to  MattW

Oddly the analysis of the local elections is that there is a hung parliament.

I am not sure which of the two useless options will be worse for defence. Neither see it as a front and centre priority that needs ring fenced investment.

Expat
Expat (@guest_818180)
4 days ago

I agree, here my take on UK politics, current 2 big parties are like 2 fruit and veg stalls at a market selling rancid produce, we all have eat so pick the least worst one. Although some who frequent the market do like rancid produce and return to the same stall regularly and even trying to pursade others how much betters it tastes than the others.

Coll
Coll (@guest_818263)
4 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Two corpses propped up by each other’s rigor mortis.

Expat
Expat (@guest_818177)
4 days ago
Reply to  MattW

No but it puts pressure on the next government. I think the Tories should order a load of kit just before they go out of office, they don’t need to deliver it, if its cut then they can call it out, if its not cut then we get a win on defence.

Cj
Cj (@guest_818253)
4 days ago
Reply to  Expat

I deffo like the sound of that 👌

mattw
mattw (@guest_818366)
4 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Fair point,

I suspect the political game being played (or part of it) is to create a future narrative around THEM vs LOOK AT WHAT WE WOULD HAVE DONE.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_818285)
4 days ago

An annoucement is coming tomorrow, Tuesday about the Royal Marines getting up to six new multi role support ships. First new commiiment since the increase in defence spanding was agreed. Well done G.S.?

Jon
Jon (@guest_818302)
4 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Thanks for the heads up. That isn’t a new commitment. 6 MRSS is the current plan and has been for several years. If the Defence Secretary is reannouncing the amount of money currently spent in Scotland like new money, why wouldn’t he be reannouncing the same 6 MRSS as though it’s his work? It was also the hope to get some traction by sharing MRSS designs with the Netherlands. We shall see if there are any changes. Mr Shapps gets a little applause from me for reannouncing old news as though he had something to do with it other than… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Jon
Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_819725)
21 minutes ago
Reply to  Jon

Thanks for your replies Jon. A lot to take in but really it’s about when if ever we are going to get a Def/sec who is an ardent supporte of the armed forces and the idea of a real increase. Forgetting my question about BW and GS I don’t think we have had a real supporter like that in thirty years or more. As for the future, the Tories in the remaining few months, who knows? The one thing they could do is turn the MRSSS into an order and while their doing so place an order for another three… Read more »

expat
expat (@guest_818340)
4 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Well lets see, is this at the expense of T32 which still not committed to beyond design phase. I’d like the Tories to commit to MRSS and T32 before they leave office with water tight contracts on cancellations to ensure they get built.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_818501)
3 days ago
Reply to  expat

You and me both my friend. From the services point of view the best thin they could do now is to put in to contracts the orders that they want to place.

Expat
Expat (@guest_818343)
4 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Just adding he said 28 ship being built or planned to be built, So

4 Dreadnoughts
8 T26
5 T31
3 FSS
6 MRSS
2 Astutes

28 all in, so no T32 planned.

mattw
mattw (@guest_818373)
4 days ago
Reply to  Expat

I do like the idea of naming an entire class of submarines after a game-changing battleship whose only ever action was to sink a submarine,

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_818558)
3 days ago
Reply to  mattw

And, you know, cause a world war

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_818502)
3 days ago
Reply to  Expat

See above. 🙂

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_818287)
4 days ago

Once the Tories are out of power we can only hope defence improves(hard to get any worse) & RN shipbuilding steps up. Easy to predict a bright future when your party won’t be in power to deliver it.

Last edited 4 days ago by Frank62
expat
expat (@guest_818339)
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

It can only improve if real money is available both parties are far more committed to spending 50% of my Tax on NHS, Welfare and debt payments. 6 times defence spending goes on just paying debt interest from my taxes!!!!!! I haven’t seen any serious plans to cut that number from either party. Instead they both praying no more global shocks hit us which would increase that number further.