Scottish Affairs Committee Press Notice No 9

23 January 2008
Session 2007-08

MPs invite Defence Secretary to set out plans for the future of Scottish shipbuilding

The Chairman of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, Mr Mohammad Sarwar MP, has written to Defence Secretary Des Browne MP seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the future of shipyards in Scotland. The Committee will seek clarification from Mr Browne about recent reports concerning possible delays to the Ministry of Defence's project for new aircraft carriers due to be built on the Clyde.

The Chairman will also formally ask the Minister to appear before the Committee to give evidence for their current inquiry into employment and skills for the defence industry in Scotland.

In July 2007 Mr Browne announced that £3.8bn would be spent on two 65,000 tonne Royal Navy aircraft carriers. He said that the contract would support or create 10,000 jobs, including those at shipyards across the UK. Two of the main shipyards involved in the construction of the carriers, Govan and Rosyth, are based in Scotland and the carriers will be assembled at the yard in Rosyth.

The inquiry will consider how Scotland can maximise the opportunities arising from defence construction contracts, including the contract for the new aircraft carriers.

The first oral evidence session will take place on Tuesday 29 January. The following witnesses are due to appear:

David Lockwood, Managing Director, Optronics, Thales UK

Ken Munro, Head of Human Resources, Babcock Engineering Services

Nigel Stewart, Commercial and New Business Director, BAE Systems