Tories Prepare To Send £1 Billion Shipbuilding Contract Overseas
The GMB and Scottish Labour have demanded that that the government reverse their decision to open up a £1 billion contract to shipbuilders abroad.
At the moment, Royal Navy ships have to be built in Britain, but these ships are part of the Royal Navy’s Auxiliary fleet giving the free market fundamentalists in government wiggle room. The GMB has estimated that the deal could create around 10,000 new jobs, but the Tories confirmed that they will allow the deal to go to tender internationally later this month. This includes companies that benefit from the kind of national economic strategy the Conservative Party refuses to deliver in the UK.
Polling by Survation on behalf of the union reveals that three out of four people think the ships should be built here. And even better for the public coffers, almost a quarter of the investment would be returned immediately in the form of taxes paid by workers in the British shipbuilding industry.
Shadow Scotland Office Minister and former Clyde shipyard worker Paul Sweeney MP did not mince his words:
“The Tories have made it quite clear that they are not prepared to use defence contracts to directly support the Scottish shipbuilding industry, so while Royal Navy warships must be built here, Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship contracts will simply be awarded to the lowest bidder.”
“This short-sighted approach makes a mockery of their recently announced National Shipbuilding Strategy and could do permanent damage to our highly-skilled industries on the Clyde and elsewhere across the UK.
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer for Shipbuilding, said:
“The Government looks set to repeat the blue passports fiasco by putting another order of national significance out to tender abroad.
“Ministers are not bound by normal EU rules on competitive tendering when it comes to military ships. There really can be no excuse for sending our shipbuilding contracts overseas.
“We have a highly skilled shipbuilding workforce in the UK that is more than capable of making these ships at a fair market price. We face being sold down the river if the work goes to artificially subsidised international competitor shipyards instead.