Scotland

Ministry of Defence contract 'secures' 1,500 Faslane jobs

HMS Astute is based at Faslane Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption HMS Astute is based at Faslane

The Ministry of Defence has announced a major contract to support the management of the naval base on the Clyde as well as others in England.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the £2.6bn contract awarded to Babcock would "sustain" 1,500 jobs at the Clyde naval base until 2020.

The Clyde naval base includes Faslane - home to the UK's fleet of Trident nuclear submarines.

Mr Fallon said it would give people at the base "longer term security".

Babcock, which manages the Clyde base and the Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth, was awarded a £2.6bn contract.

BAE Systems, which manages the Portsmouth Naval Base, was awarded a £600m contract.

The money will also be used to maintain and repair the Royal Navy's warships and submarines for the next five years.

The MoD said the contract would secure up to 4,000 jobs at Devonport, more than 2,000 at Portsmouth and about 1,500 at the Clyde base, which also includes the Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Coulport.

Nuclear weapons

The defence secretary told BBC Scotland: "There are no new jobs but I think it is very important to reassure those who are working on the Clyde, now that the referendum is over, that they will have that job security.

"This is one of the longest contracts we are placing and it is confirmation that the Clyde will be one of our most important naval bases for years to come."

Mr Fallon was asked if he had taken note of the fact that 45% of people in Scotland supported the Yes campaign which had called for the removal of the Trident nuclear weapons system from the Clyde base.

The defence secretary said: "Of course you take into account views expressed in a referendum but it was the minority view.

"A majority voted to stay part of the United Kingdom and all parts of the UK benefit from the nuclear deterrent. Those submarines keep us all safe - Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland."

Angus Robertson MP, the SNP Westminster leader and defence spokesman, said: "It hasn't taken long for the Tories to pledge to spend billions more to keep their weapons of mass destruction in Scotland following the referendum.

"It is one thing the unionist parties can agree on - that nuclear missiles should be dumped on the Clyde at absolutely enormous expense - and they are getting on just fine with that vow, even as more savage cuts are planned at Westminster.

He added: "The SNP wants a secure long term future for Faslane - investing in it as a conventional naval base. Instead of hosting these obscene nuclear weapons designed for the Cold War. Faslane should be a 21st century facility for its naval defence needs now and in the future - not a nuclear dumping ground."

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