I thank the Minister for advance sight of his statement and commend his fleet-of-foot actions in changing the range from Appledore to Glasgow to Appledore to Rosyth. That is an important correction to make.
The fourth from final paragraph in the Minister’s statement cuts to the chase on this issue in the way that the strategy does not when he states that it is a vision to make the UK,
“the country of choice for specialist commercial and naval vessels and systems, components and technologies”.
Among the 80 pages of waffle and padding, the strategy alights briefly on that point, but not in the way it really should. The strategy also highlights the word “international” 31 times. I welcome the realisation that in a global economy with global supply chains the notion that we can procure every single element in the United Kingdom, while a noble ambition that we should sweat as much as we can, is naive.
I welcome the fact that the national strategy sets out a range of opportunities, which excellent yards all around Scotland are ready to lean into and capitalise on. I am a little sceptical about whether the funding announced in the strategy will have a massive impact across all the yards in the United Kingdom, but I hope it will.
Scotland’s skills, as I am sure the Minister will agree, have been highlighted many times in the past decade, not least on the QE2-class ships, which are outstanding in their quality and performance, the Type 26 under construction in Glasgow and the Type 31 under build in Rosyth. He will welcome, as I do, the export success that has been achieved, with 26 going to Canada and Australia, but he will know that those are in-country builds. That is not to downplay the opportunities of intellectual property and engineering that Glasgow will enjoy from them, but does he agree that really what we need is Type 31s sold to countries that will require them to be built in Rosyth?