An independent Scotland could lose navy contracts

SKILLED BAE worker in Portsmouth
SKILLED BAE worker in Portsmouth
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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SCOTTISH shipbuilders risk losing lucrative Royal Navy contracts if the country is to split from the UK, the defence minister has said.

Minister Philip Dunne said navy warships were unlikely to be built abroad, as Scotland would technically be if it became independent.

It comes after earlier this year the Portsmouth City Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, warned against any plans to move shipbuilding from Portsmouth to Scotland in case its voters chose to break away.

His comments came in March amid fears BAE Systems would move its shipbuilding division north of the border – with the loss of 1,300 local jobs.

Mr Dunne said: ‘The UK has not built a complex warship outside these shores since the Second World War.

‘We remain committed to using UK industry to build UK warships.

‘In the unlikely event Scotland should decide to separate from the UK, the Scottish defence industry would only be eligible to bid for contracts placed by a future Scottish government, or competed for outside the UK, placed by the UK or other governments.’

MPs also discussed the coalition’s plans to build Type 26 Global Combat Ships, which are estimated to cost £350m each and are expected to be built in Scotland.