£348m shipbuilding contract for Clyde with a “yes” vote

Lower Block 04, the biggest hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at 11,300 tonnes, is rolled out of the shipbuild halls at BAE Systems' Govan yard on the Clyde

More than 800 Scottish jobs are set to be safeguarded as the Ministry of Defence announced a contract to build three new warships in Clyde worth £348m.

The contract will include three offshore patrol vessels (OPV) for the Royal Navy at BAE Systems Shipyard in Clyde.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon has implied that the deal was on the condition of a “no” vote on September 18, he said: “UK warships are only built in UK shipyards.”

Predecessor to Mr Fallon, Philip Hammond, also said that British warships would not be built overseas, which could cost Scotland millions if it votes “yes” for independence.

Keith Brown, Scotland’s minister for veteran affairs, argued that a split from the UK would be beneficial to Scotland and argued that the UK Government had already revealed these intentions last November.

Scottish shipbuilding has become a bone of contention in the lead up to the vote on independence with both sides disputing whether the industry would benefit from being in or out of the union.

The deal is an important development for Clyde since the completion of two Royal Navy aircraft carriers.

Several Type 26 Global Combat ships are also planned to be built at BAE’s Scotstoun and Govan yards after next month’s referendum.

Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, said it would be “difficult to see how the work would go to Scotland” if it voted “yes” for independence.

Mr Fallon said: “This multi-million pound contract shows our commitment to investing in new ships for the Royal Navy and maintaining in the UK the expertise needed to build the warships of the future. It will benefit the dedicated workers of the Clyde, their families and the local economy in Glasgow.

“This sort of investment by the UK Government is vital for the sustainment of shipbuilding in the city and the hundreds of specialist manufacturing and engineering roles that play an important role in providing war fighting capability for the Royal Navy.”

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “I am delighted that we will be building the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels in Glasgow.”

“Today’s announcement continues over 200 years of tradition building the nation’s leading ships on the Clyde.

“This will also support hundreds of jobs in the region and make an important contribution to the wider UK economy.”