Defence Industry: Scotland

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Ged Killen Ged Killen Labour/Co-operative, Rutherglen and Hamilton West 4:30 pm, 30th April 2019

I absolutely agree. Recently, when I visited the site, I was pleased to see how many of my constituents are employed there.

I am disappointed about the previous actions of both the UK Government and, to a certain extent, the Scottish Government. The recent failure by the UK Government to support the construction of the fleet solid support vessels, as mentioned in this debate and many other times in this place, shows completely misplaced priorities. Ill thought-out changes to Government tendering rules redefined the vessels, meaning that the ships will not fall under article 346 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union. That opens UK shipyards to subsidised international competition and puts jobs and the potential investment in shipyards such as Rosyth at risk.

What is more, that situation was wholly avoidable, with the decision being made completely unilaterally, yet possibly writing off highly skilled, highly paid jobs that could return £2.3 billion in revenue to the Treasury while providing sustainable employment and an increasing skills base. I therefore urge the Government to think again about that, and to follow the Labour party’s lead by advocating that such ships are built in the UK. The case of the fleet solid support ships signals a Government who are far more interested in achieving in-year cost reductions than in looking at the whole picture.