Nuclear Defence Industry (Scotland)

Oral Answers to Questions — Kfor – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th October 2000.

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Photo of Mr Bill Tynan Mr Bill Tynan Labour, Hamilton South 12:00 am, 30th October 2000

If he will make a statement on the numbers employed in the nuclear defence industry in Scotland. [133012]

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The total number of personnel employed directly by the Ministry of Defence in establishments in Scotland that undertake nuclear-related activity is 3,974. In addition, we employ private contractors. Also, the figure does not include service personnel ported at the Clyde naval base.

Photo of Mr Bill Tynan Mr Bill Tynan Labour, Hamilton South

Is my hon. Friend aware of the situation in Scotland, where the policies of the Scottish National party as regards the nuclear industry are causing tremendous concern to the work force? Will he ensure that he publicises the threat to the nuclear defence industry in Scotland? Will he seek to reassure the people working in the industry?

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

My hon. Friend and I have met members of the work force, who are enormously professional and have an enormous pride in the skills that they employ, as well as in the contribution that they make to Britain's defences. The House will not be surprised that Scottish National party Members have chosen not to turn up today; there is nothing unusual in that. However, their views on this subject are at direct variance with the views of the great majority of people in this country and are very much at variance with the interests of the work force on the Clyde at Coulport and Faslane, the many other workers who depend on those establishments for their employment and the suppliers to the defence industry. I need no incitement from my hon. Friend to undertake to give the widest possible publicity to the difficulties that Scottish National party policy would cause not only for the people at Faslane and Coulport, but for the people of Scotland and the industry generally. [Interruption.] I cannot quite hear what the hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) is saying with regard to this matter; I am sure that it is instructive.