The SNP manifesto has made an incorrect claim regarding shipbuilding in Scotland.
This article is part of a series looking at the manifesto claims made by the main parties in the run up to the 2019 General Election.
The Claim: “Before the referendum, the No campaign promised contracts for 13 Type-26 frigates to be built in Govan and Scotstoun shipyards. Now only 8 such frigates are to be built, and only some of the work on these ships will come to Scotland.”
The Reality: 13 Type 26 Frigates were promised to Scottish yards. In 2015, the Ministry of Defence changed plans, replacing five of the general purpose Type 26 frigates with five Type 31e Frigates. In addition, Five River class Offshore Patrol Ships were ordered to sustain the workforce until the Type 26 Frigate build started. Essentially, it went from 13 ships at one yard to 18 ships over two yards. In addition, all of the building work on the Type 26 Frigate is being done in Scotland despite the claim “only some of the work” is being done in Scotland.
Verdict: It’s more work, for more locations and for more workers.
Additionally, the manifesto also apparently precludes yards in an independent Scotland building Royal Navy vessels.
What are Scottish shipyards building?
Why did the plan change from 13 Type 26 Frigates to 8 Type 26 and 5 Type 31e Frigates?
The MoD is hoping to reduce its reliance on BAE and cut the costs of procurement by spreading shipbuilding work across other naval yards. To this end, the government are implementing the results of an independent report into the National Shipbuilding Strategy by Sir John Parker which recommended that the Type 31 Frigate build be done elsewhere.
The National Shipbuilding Strategy was intended to be a “radical, fundamental re-appraisal of how we undertake the shipbuilding enterprise in the UK, intending to place UK naval shipbuilding on a sustainable long term footing.”
BAE on the Clyde is to build the Type 26, Babcock at Rosyth is to build the Type 31e.