Kenneth Gibson MSP has condemned the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after leaked emails showed that delays in the delivery of the Type 26 global combat vessels will cost the taxpayer more money than proceeding with the work – while putting jobs on the Clyde at risk, in a clear breach of promises made during the independence referendum.
The Type 26 frigates were due to be built by BAE Systems, with work beginning in December. The MoD then asked for savings of £500m to be made over five years, refusing an offer from BAE Systems to save £275m and still begin work on time. The delays have put jobs at risk, and the leaked emails suggest that these will end up costing more money in the long-term, which echo the concerns of Former First Sea Lord Admiral, Lord West.
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson said:
“By reneging on the original deal and rejecting the offer of BAE Systems to make savings whilst still beginning work on time, the Tories have confirmed that they are prepared to put jobs at risk and waste taxpayers’ money in pursuing cuts across all sectors of government.
“The UK Government told us during the independence referendum that jobs in shipbuilding would be safe if Scotland voted No. If the very clear promises made to workers on the Clyde are broken, it would be an unforgivable betrayal to the workforce and people across Scotland will not be quick to forget.
“What makes this even more remarkable is that the Tories are still willing to spend £207,000 million replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system. The country needs a defence system capable of tackling the many modern threats we face, not one designed for the Cold War.
“It’s about time the UK Government kept the very clear promises they made to the workers during the referendum – and deliver the contract for the frigates without further delay.”