The 6,000 direct jobs in the sector support a further 9,055 jobs in Scotland.
Ian Waddell, head of The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, recently told the Scottish Affairs Committee:
“Shipbuilding makes an important contribution to the Scottish economy. Multiplier estimates produced by the Scottish Government suggest that each shipbuilding job supports a further 1.51 jobs in the wider Scottish economy: implying that the 6,000 direct jobs in the sector support a further 9,055 jobs in Scotland. Each £250 million of shipbuilding expenditure in Scotland – the nominal average cost of a Type 31 frigate – will support an estimated 2,223 jobs.
It should be noted that defence manufacturers are more likely to place orders with local suppliers than non-defence firms, magnifying the benefit of shipbuilding orders to local and regional economies. There may be good opportunities for Scottish shipbuilding under a long-term pipeline of work. Our members delivered the successful Carrier programme. Workers at BAE Systems on the Clyde have designed and are building the Type 26 frigates, while workers at Babcock at Rosyth are building Type 31 frigates, adapted from a Danish design.
If the UK MoD awards the competition for the three Fleet Solid Support Ships to Team UK then the ships would be integrated in Rosyth. There is further potential for large vessels of this class as other ships such as landing platforms and casualty receiving ships are replaced. Babcock workers at Rosyth were also poised to build Fast Missile Boats for the Ukrainian navy prior to the February 2022 Russian invasion. A collaborative, modular approach to fulfilling large orders could also secure work for Ferguson Marine on the Lower Clyde. The National Shipbuilding Office has recently set up the Shipbuilding Enterprise for Growth (SEG), which will oversee industrial strategy for the sector. Scotland has a strong influence on this group, with John Howie of Babcock as co-Chair. It is early days for the SEG, with only one meeting having taken place at the time of writing, but it is a positive step in bringing the key industry players together with senior defence and other government department officials. Workers also have a voice as the General Secretary of the CSEU has a seat on the SEG.”
Summarising, Waddell added:
“Up and down Scotland, communities depend on the defence industry and a steady drumbeat of work for their jobs, for a future for young people, for economic security and in some cases, their economic survival.”