Harriett Baldwin has visited two leading defence industry employers to meet small and medium-sized enterprises and apprentices in Scotland.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:

“Scotland is on the front line defending the United Kingdom from growing threats on land, air, and sea; and the Government is listening to Scottish business and building skills to keep the UK safe, secure, and prosperous.

This is yet more evidence of our unquestionable commitment to defence and industry in Scotland, as our rising defence budget and £178bn equipment plan supports Scottish business, jobs, and skills far into the future.”

According to the press release regarding the visit, the MoD spent £1.5 billion with Scottish businesses last year and supports 9,700 jobs across Scotland, with the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Carriers being built in Rosyth and new Offshore Patrol Vessels under construction in Govan and Scotstoun ahead of this summer’s Type 26 Frigate steel cut.

“Apprenticeships are a key element in creating a country where everyone has the chance to go as far as their talent and hard work will allow, regardless of background. 24 graduates and 24 apprentices joined Raytheon’s programmes this year, some of whom Mrs Baldwin met to hear about the company’s support for the Government’s focus on skills through its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) ambassador programmes. Over 50 Raytheon STEM Ambassadors visit schools to teach pupils about aerodynamics, autonomy, and control systems.

SMEs are at the heart of the MOD’s Innovation Initiative. Backed by an £800 million fund, the Initiative encourages imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. The goal is to work more effectively with businesses across the UK – and particularly with SMEs which might not normally think of themselves as Defence suppliers.”

However, a report published earlier in the year claims that delays in the construction of the Type 26 Frigate have had a negative impact on the development of the workforce on the Clyde.

The recently released report ‘Restoring the Fleet: Naval Procurement and the National Shipbuilding Strategy’, states that:

“It is clear to us that the delays in the construction of the Type 26 have had a negative impact on the development of the workforce on the Clyde. Apprenticeships are not being offered at the necessary rate, and those currently undertaking apprenticeships are having their skills training disrupted. Furthermore, workers are being required to move from Scotland to Barrow in order for them to undertake meaningful work.

We welcome the efforts made by the trades unions and BAE to retain the workforce during this period of uncertainty, but remain deeply concerned by warnings that further delay could be catastrophic for the skills base.”

 

BAE Systems recently awarded further manufacturing equipment contracts to six companies for the Type 26 Frigate. According to a BAE press release, the new contracts include key items such as steering systems, doors, davit system and mooring equipment for the first three ships.

Geoff Searle, Type 26 Global Combat Ship Programme Director, said:

“The progress of our partners in the supply chain is a crucial aspect of making sure we are ready to cut steel on our first of class next summer. Agreeing these contracts now will ensure our suppliers are on track to deliver equipment to Glasgow at the point it is required in the manufacturing phase.”

The press release also states that 33 companies are working with BAE Systems to deliver the Type 26 ships.

The Type 26 Frigate fleet had been repeatedly delayed over huge financial problems, with the MoD lacking the funds to start production and instead opting to build smaller and cheaper Offshore Patrol Vessels in the meantime in an attempt to retain some of the workforce.

Ruth Smeeth, Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North asked at a Defence Committee session on the National Shipbuilding Strategy earlier in the year:

“Now we will move on to skills. You stress the importance of the workforce to build capacity in the industry. What are the risks to the workforce of any further delay to the construction of the Type 26?”

Sir John Parker, author of an independent report on the National Shipbuilding Strategy answered:

“Workforces are secured only by workload. I mentioned earlier that BAE obviously have had to reduce the employment in Clyde yards.

The five OPVs have taken up quite a bit of slack but not all of it, so they have got to build back up again to the level of resource needed for the Type 26. If it is contracted this year, clearly it will be another year before that probably builds up to a significant level.”

Michael Fallon told BBC Radio Scotland last year:

“Nobody is shortchanging the Clyde. This is a huge moment for the Clyde; we’re confirming we’re going ahead with the steel cut next summer, earlier than expected.

The first eight will be the Type 26 combat ships. After that, we will be building a lighter frigate and we will end up with a fleet that is larger than the fleet at the moment.”

The Ministry of Defence has also awarded a £100m contract to deliver the Sea Ceptor air defence missile system for the new Type 26 Frigate. The new ‘Demonstration and Manufacture’ phase contract will support additional design work and allow equipment to be manufactured to equip the entire Type 26 fleet.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Can I hang the next government minister who mentions the words “178 Billion. Safe. Future. Rising budget” ?
    It is beyond Parrot like and is utterly ridiculous. And no journalist seems to have the knowledge to correct them, to their faces, for the nations benefit.

    • Harriet Baldwin is nothing more than Fallon’s puppet. She and he both fail to mention that SDSR2015 isn’t fully funded – it never was and isn’t likely to be either – absolutely disgraceful! If we have 178Bn equipment budget over the next 10yrs, where are: RFA Diligence replacement, HMA Ocean replacement, Harpoon replacement, 5th Sentinel, Mk41 VLS….. the list is endless but the cuts are not!

  2. It’s an easy gig…. just keep saying “£178 billion” over and over again, while still implementing cuts.

    The media don’t seem to notice.

  3. Any current government promises on defence spending, are only as safe, as them remaining in power? If labour were to achieve power, I can be sure a rapid defence review will ensue, and depending on their majority, it could be bad news for such reassurances.

  4. Just let Sturgeon try and block the Repeal Bill or any other Brexit legislation. She had her warnings with big losses in the Local and General Elections but I suspect her myopic need for an ‘IndyRef2’ will override common sense and whats good for Scotland – Which is remaining in the UK.

  5. SNP need to remember at the last general election 62% of Scots voted for parties other than the SNP thus it is an absolute miracle that they even retained the seats they did. I hope and think Scotland is waking up to the dangers of the SNP and their single-minded focus on independence at all (detrimental) costs to the Scottish people.
    Mody’s the credit agency rated an independent Scotland as a junk rating meaning as bad as Greece with running up huge debts £15-20 billion per year, they would be unable to repay and a cycle of decline likely. Not exactly encouraging.
    onto defence matters i am glad the rUK is honouring pledges to Scotland on defence expenditure, we do need strong bases in Scotland able to deploy tri-services. Our current axis of threat is from the North east approaches and Russia.

  6. Tory government minister guarantees commitment to Scottish defence industry. The Scots, being a canny people, start packing their bags.

  7. Chris Scots in the general election actually did not vote for SNP the majority of Scots voted for party not wanting a 2nd indyref. It is only our first past the post system and sheer luck that the SNP managed to come out of the last election with the seats they had. They know that now and Sturgeon will have to be very careful about voicing independence referendum ideas again in the future. Some 18 seats in parliament were only just won by the SNP with a majority of less than 5% of the voter turnout. SNP were close to losing their majority and as I state were very lucky to come away with the parliamentary seats they did.
    well done Scotland you are starting to see through the SNPs stupidity. Perhaps now the SNP will focus on actually trying to run the devolved government and Scottish parliament for Scotland and its people in an effective manner. Yes that means not running up debts of £13 billion a year for rUK to pay off.

  8. I don’t really understand why we need to prop up uk shop building.

    We accepted with the f35 that we would no longer be able to build combat jets in the UK

    We accepted with Ajax that we wouldn’t be able to build armoured vehicles in the UK.

    We accepted with the sa80 that we needed Germans to build our guns.

    At this point the only defence them we can build is ships and I’m not sure that is enough to say we could be self sufficient and so why bother.

    We should just get them built wherever is the best value for money whether it’s the UK or aboard.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here