Independence row over Scots work on Type 26 vessels

image captionBAE's Glasgow yards have been earmarked to build the new Type 26 Global Combat Ships

Plans to build new Royal Navy vessels in Glasgow could be endangered by a Yes vote in the independence referendum, the Scottish Secretary has said.

BAE's Scotstoun and Govan yards have been chosen to build the Type 26 Global Combat ships after the 2014 vote.

Alistair Carmichael told MPs it would be "difficult to see how the work would go to Scotland" if it was independent.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said any suggestions of contracts being clawed back were "preposterous".

News that BAE's two Glasgow yards had been earmarked for the Type 26 work was confirmed as the company announced 1,775 job losses across its UK operations.

The firm said 940 staff posts and 170 agency workers will go at Portsmouth, which will retain repairs and maintenance work.

Some 835 jobs will be lost at its two yards in Glasgow, Rosyth in Fife and at the Filton office, near Bristol.

As part of moves to soften the blow, the defence contractor and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that three new ocean-going Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy will be built at Govan and Scotstoun.

Sustain shipbuilding

The aim is to sustain shipbuilding at the yards until work begins on the Type 26 Global Combat ships sometime after 2014.

The referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September next year.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said the contracts for the Type 26 vessels could not be let until the design had matured and that would be at the end of 2014.

Asked if Scottish independence could have an impact on that, Mr Carmichael said: "In the unlikely event of Scotland removing herself from the UK then the rest of the UK would let future contracts on the same basis as ones that we are discussing today, that is to yards within their country.

"If Scotland is no longer part of that country then yes, it's difficult to see how the work would go to Scotland."

Asked if independence could result in naval contracts being clawed back, Ms Sturgeon said: "That's a preposterous suggestion - the idea that people in Scotland should be somehow punished for voting 'Yes'.

"I would hope that all serious politicians would distance themselves from that kind of suggestion.

"The Clyde is and will remain the best place to build these Type 26 frigates. The fact of the matter is, an independent Scotland would want some of these Type 26 frigates. We would want to see sensible joint procurement."

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