Agreement Reached over Scottish Defence Jobs Threat

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The Scottish government has announced that cross-party agreement has been reached in an attempt at protecting jobs threatened by the Tory-LibDem Government’s Strategic Defence Review.

The agreement comes after First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond urged leaders of Scotland’s opposition parties to join the Scottish Government in opposing any cuts to the aircraft carrier contracts at Govan and Rosyth yards.


The Scottish government has announced that cross-party agreement has been reached in an attempt at protecting jobs threatened by the Tory-LibDem Government’s Strategic Defence Review.

The agreement comes after First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond urged leaders of Scotland’s opposition parties to join the Scottish Government in opposing any cuts to the aircraft carrier contracts at Govan and Rosyth yards.

There are concerns for the contracts after BAE systems chief executive Sir Ian King told the Commons Defence Select Committee the company had been asked to consider a number of options ranging from “one carrier to no carriers”.  The Scottish government has estimated that up to 10,000 Scottish jobs could be lost if the builds do not go ahead.

A joint submission will now be lodged to the UK Government’s review of military spending on behalf of the SNP Government and the opposition parties at Holyrood.  The submission outlines the undeniable case for keeping the jobs and skills in Scotland.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The more united Scotland’s voice is, the stronger it will be, which is why this cross-party submission is of vital importance.

“The document is about the compelling case for Scotland and Scottish jobs and skills.

The First Minister appreciated that each of the Holyrood parties had different view on nuclear weapons and other issues but said the submission would emphasise those areas where there was unity.

Mr Salmond added: 

“The different parties have different policies on issues such as Trident – which the Scottish Government and many others strongly oppose – but this submission is about what unites us and what we do agree on.

“This is an issue that affects families and communities the length and breadth of Scotland, including the need to secure the aircraft carrier contract work being carried out on the Clyde and at Rosyth, and the RAF bases at Kinloss and Lossiemouth currently under threat from the UK defence review.”

Mr Salmond went on: “Our best chance of success in achieving that goal will be if we act with maximum unity of purpose – anything which detracts from that will only serve to undermine that case.”

Labour’s Holyrood group leader Iain Gray said of the submission: “There have been significant additions made which recognise the socio-economic impact of the whole of the defence industry footprint on Scotland and its importance for jobs and apprenticeships all over the country.

“It also recognises the wider spin-offs from the defence industry for the rest of the Scottish economy.”

Scottish Tory leader Annabelle Goldie blamed the concerns for the contracts on Labour’s financial mess saying: “I have always argued that a robust case should be put forward for the Scottish contribution to the UK defence facility.

“Labour’s financial mess poses very tough choices for the coalition UK government but this cross-party submission is a well documented, factual representation of how important that contribution is.

“It is essential that the MoD decision making process has the best information available from all sources.”

Reports this weekend have suggested that UK Defence Minister Liam Fox favours keeping the contracts alive.  However as yet there has been no official decision.