A report has claimed that the Scottish economy ‘cannot do without’ naval shipbuilding contracts.

The importance of Royal Navy shipbuilding contracts to the Scottish economy has been discussed in a report commissioned by GMB Scotland.

An economic analysis of the Scottish defence sector by the Fraser of Allander Institute revealed that 5,943 jobs and £162.7 million in wages are supported by BAE’s yards on the Upper Clyde; and 3,870 jobs and £105.9 million in wages are supported by the Rosyth dockyard in Fife.

The report also presents a challenge for the Scottish Government to demonstrate how they would sustain these jobs and wages in the absence of MoD contracts in a future independent Scotland.

The MoD contracts in question, by the way, are complex warships like frigates and destroyers.

GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said:

“This report was commissioned following the delays to the type-26 programme and because of the long-term frustrations felt by our members across the sector after years of being used as a political football.

One job on the Upper Clyde alone supports an additional 1.18 jobs across Scotland so for the future of Scottish shipbuilding and our long-term economic prosperity it is imperative that the UK government makes good on the promised frigate programme.

Furthermore, and with a second independence referendum a real possibility, the Scottish government needs to demonstrate to our members how they would plan to sustain their jobs, wages, pensions, skills and local communities without MoD investment.

This report is a reality check and shows that the fragile Scottish economy cannot do without the thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds in wages supported by navy shipbuilding contracts.”

The issue of UK ncts on the Clyde has become controversial after the 2014 Independence Referendum and even more so recently when several parties indicated that the work would not go to an independent country.

“No warships would have been built on the Clyde, because the United Kingdom Government would not have chosen to build them there.”

The full statement was made by then Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Phillip Dunne in response to a question from Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute, regarding the Type 26 frigates.

“What I can confirm to the hon. Gentleman is that, had the independence vote gone the way that he and his colleagues would have liked, no warships would have been built on the Clyde, because the United Kingdom Government would not have chosen to build them there; we made that very clear.

As it is, as I have just confirmed to the House, we will be proceeding with the construction of eight complex Type 26 warships on the Clyde as and when the programme is ready.”



  1. Double the commitment to Type 31 at the English and Irish yards. Actually have them ready and capable to build the Type 26 if the SNP is going to play indyref2,3,4,5 until folks vote the way they want.

  2. I don’t think that headlining this kind of scare story helps anyone. Brussels threats and warnings over Brexit have likely had an opposite effect- adding to the number of Out supporters. It must be self evident to most that shipbuilding is very important to Scotland’s economy. As a Briton I am happy to see the RN’s requirements largely built on the Clyde and see no need to keep reminding our fellow countrymen in North Britain! Happy new year to all.

    • I’m the same as you; I’ve never seen Scotland as a foreign country. I’m happy for our jobs to stay British. Unfortunately, I believe that many Scots don’t think that England is anything but an invading power. I find this puzzling at best. After Neverendum one, I came to the conclusion that Independence for Scotland is inevitable so now I am starting to sway towards keeping the jobs south of the border. I fear that until the Scots start being proud of being British (as well as Scottish) the issue of jobs is not going away.

      • Couldn’t agree more David,

        I am English and immensely proud of all the nations of Britain. I have costed up the capital expense of building 3 major ships and 12 smaller vessels per year to £2.5bn p.a spread over a 50 year timeline. This requires us to move to a fleet of BMD T26 Global Combat Ships (16) and T31 light frigate (24) Escort Fleet and retiring the current MHVC and OPV fleets over time. This would mean we build 80 Escorts every 50 years in batches of 8 and the design per batch can then evolve or change as necessary.

        There are some great designs out there and there is already a frigate factory in Portsmouth that has been closed in preference to Scotland. Ultimately we should be able to maintain 4 shipyards as the combination of a long term plan, volume and budget can allow the shipyards to become lean again.

        As for the Subs – we should look to have other facilities for them – as I also expect Scotland will seek independence eventually.

    • Well said Geoff. David, post Brexit further powers for Scotland can be devolved, once such powers become UK competences again. There will be little desire then, aside from a minority of die hard nationalists, for independence. Especially given that such “independence” post Brexit would mean giving away Scottish powers to the EU and having to join the Euro (unless the SNP no longer advocate joining the EU). Support for the SNP has peaked, their support will erode away as their handling of the Scottish economy continues to be poor, and the case for independence weakens

  3. FOR the SNP to lambast the Government for failing to spend he claims millions for ships to built on the Clyde is utter arrogance and the “have ones cake and eat it to” attitude that the SNP adopt. The English yards have payed a price for the bribery of the Scots in placing orders in Scotland and its about time the English yards get their fair share. If Scotland vote again and for Independence then no more English, Welsh and NIrish Gold for them and rightly so.

  4. Ultimately, The UK needs to put the foreign aid budget on ice or reduce it by 50% in order to divert these funds to building our military capability again. It should be worth noting that the UK military are our key method of delivering humanitarian aid, but unless we start joining the 21st century then its going to be difficult to recruit and retain the best people.

    We need 300 new fighters (at £100m each) a new fleet of ships for the RN and loads of tanks and even a new rifle for the army. None of this comes cheap but we can afford it with improved management, a laser like focus on what is critical and what is not and then ruthlessly pursuing delivery. All of the above seems missing from the MOD and government in genera actually.

  5. All I can see is an overworked RN fleet waiting for replacements and being messed about by politicians and manufacturers playing power games. I wonder if Mr Trump would put up with this state of affairs? I wonder if he would like to donate dozen Arleigh Burke’s to support our carriers with his aircraft on! This is what will happen if we don’t start to show more concern for our navy and stop playing ” politics and profit” with our defence budget and the lives of our service men and women who are doing their best with outdated and unreliable ships.

  6. The government are sea blind and thanks to repeated disastrous SDSR’s in 2010 and 2015 we have a hollowed out armed forces in need of urgent operational support.
    The army needs to refit it’s challenger 2 tanks and probably reinstate an armoured brigade- using armoured vehicles currently stored in reserve. The Army needs a new assault rifle and mobile artillery equipment
    The RAF needs adequate numbers of the new F35B to be ordered- probably more than the 135 forecast for the life of the programme. either that or order in more Eurofighter typhoon tranche 3-4- say 48 more would be a useful number to deter potential Russian airspace aggression into NATO
    It is however the Royal Navy that is in the most mess. We need more than 8 type 26 frigates- that is a big mistake- could we not have 8 optimised for ASW and a further 4 optimised hulls for surface strike and close protection of the QE carriers? This would then leave the new type 31 patrol frigates – if correctly armed with CAMM, a medium gun, helicopter and hanger and a limited surface strike ability via a small 12 0r 18 cell mk41 VL system to provide world wide patrols- Falklands, Caribbean, East of Suez- the type 31 could still be a relatively high-end capable warship if we fit it out with available weaponary.
    The retiring of the Harpoon antiship missile is a huge worry for the RN- without a replacement- both the type 45 destroyers and the new type 26’s need an anti-ship missile fit asap. The American long range anti ship missile being developed currently would be an adequate stop gap measure until the new MDMA proteus (sorry think that is the name) is available in 2020’s.- fitting mk41 strike cells onto the type 45 would enable these vessels to become truly capable capital ships- the work could be undertaken at the same time as their required power supply refits. How to afford this?
    Simple really, we are a low tax high personal income economy- you can see that very easily by the household expenditure in the UK, the fact the richer in society drive around in very expensive cars and have very costly holidays- raise income tax by 5p to every pound (so 25%)- 1p extra to the NHS (you can see in the news how bad things are in the NHS currently), 1p for social care (as we are failing our elderly and most vulnerable in society) 1p to a sovereign infrastructure fund (every £1 spent on infrastructure yields long-term £7-8 per annum), 1p to defence and 1p to education- if this was done within 15-20 years we might finally have a country we are all proud of.
    The Scottish ship yards should stop complaining they are getting ALL the construction work currently at the expense of the rest of the UK. I would advocate final assembly of the type 31’s in Scotland but modular construction around the UK- at Appledore, Portsmouth, Liverpool etc. We need at least 10 type 31 frigates to be constructed concurrently with the type 26 frigate programme and thus modular construction is the only way to guarantee the RN resolves the woeful state it is in currently.

  7. Scotland will vote for independence after which it must lose any orders from Royal Navy the remaining UK English and Irish shipyards have been sacrificed enough by the political class to appease Scotland also the type 31 frigate should not be another BAE system stitch up

  8. If other yards have been sacrificed enough to ‘appease Scotland’, then the question that must be asked is why does Scotland need to be appeased? The most obvious answer to this is that scotland’s economy and industry has suffered from a chronic lack of investment for over 30 years while the south east has prospered from conservative and Westminster ‘favouritism’ (a fair proportion of which has been built on North Sea oil and gas taxation). Just as the uk/ BBC begins to openly accept there exists a north/ south devide (north being by the north of England), our southern cousins need to accept that this is the reason that independence won’t go away. For the record, I’m not an independence voter, but do some research on where the uk defence money is actually spent and you’ll find that something like 80% is spent within 30 miles of London.


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