Fresh fears raised after review calls for end to BAE Systems” Royal Navy monopoly

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Industrialist Sir John Parker urged the Ministry of Defence to look beyond its Glasgow yards with warship work shared among companies across the UK.

Ministers insisted Scotland would continue to play a leading role in delivering new vessels but unions expressed alarm.

It was announced earlier this month that BAE Systems” Govan and Scotstoun facilities would build eight Type 26 frigates in a move securing hundreds of jobs for the next 20 years.

Rosyth in Fife is also one of six shipyards across the UK currently involved in the £6.2bn BAE project to construct two aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.

But the contract to build eight smaller general purpose Type 31 frigates has yet to be announced.

Sir John”s report said: “There is no precedent for building two “first class” RN frigates in one location.”

A separate lead shipyard or alliance would appear to be the best way forward for the new frigate to minimise risk, it added.

Sir John, chairman of mining giant Anglo American, was asked by the UK Government last year to help inform a national shipbuilding strategy – which will now be published in spring.

The businessman argued scrapping BAE Systems” exclusive deal would boost productivity and reduce the time spent on construction.

He also warned the Navy”s fleet is being depleted by a “vicious cycle” of old ships being retained beyond their sell-by-date.

Sir John found that new ships are being ordered too late and the procurement process takes too long compared with other industries.

He insisted that “no-one should be afraid of competition”.

Sir John told the BBC”s Good Morning Scotland programme: “The whole idea is to expand the naval shipbuilding output in the country and also at the same time there has been quite a renaissance in a number of yards around the country that have actually taken

part in supplying blocks to the aircraft carriers being built at Rosyth.

“But I think as far as Scotland”s concerned, the big prize – I call it a double first prize – is that my report has recommended that the whole series of Type 26 frigates should be built in Govan on the Clyde.

“This will be the largest single contract for naval ships this decade and will see the yard through into the early 2030s. So this is a huge prize that is going to Scotland.”

His report said that Scotland”s cutting-edge technology presented an opportunity to implement “modular construction” of future vessels

This would see them built in large blocks which are then transported to a final assembly site or single hub where they are bolted together.

But Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said: “Any future changes to naval defence contracts must recognise the value offered by workers in Scotland – including the Clyde and Rosyth and beyond – and must ensure that they get a fair share of future work,

not just token gestures.”

SNP defence spokesman Brendan O”Hara said the report signalled another delay to the publication of shipbuilding strategy and would cause concern to workers.

He said: “These concerns about another Westminster muddle will only be heightened by some of the recommendations in this report with clear implications for yards on the Clyde in particular.”

Scottish Labour”s Westminster spokesman Ian Murray added: “Promises were made to the workers on the Clyde and we will not allow the government to go back on them.”

The MoD said jobs in Glasgow and Rosyth were guaranteed into the 2030s and Sir John “recognises the skill and experience Scottish shipyards possess”.