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Defence Sector

Volume 693: debated on Wednesday 28 April 2021

The defence industry in Scotland is strong, thanks to sustained UK Government spending. My Department has a close, positive relationship with the industry and the UK armed forces in Scotland, including on the implementation of the recent integrated review: defence Command Paper and the defence and security industrial strategy.

Shared expertise and infrastructure are key to supporting jobs across our United Kingdom, such as at Warton in my constituency and those north of the border at the BAE Systems site at Clyde. What estimates does my right hon. Friend make of the positive impact the UK Government’s defence manufacturing has on job opportunities for the people of Scotland?

The Royal Navy shipbuilding programme will provide a pipeline of work and sustain valuable jobs and skills for shipyards around the United Kingdom, including those in Scotland, in Rosyth and the Clyde, which are currently constructing the new frigate fleets. The Ministry of Defence has spent £2.7 billion with Scottish industry in 2019 and 2020 alone, and that has supported 12,400 jobs.

The integrated review published last month made it clear that our strongest asset is the capabilities, expertise and skills we have across the United Kingdom. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is the same expertise and skills, shared across the country, that has enabled us to spend billions of pounds over the next decade on shipbuilding in Scotland?

Yes; I wholeheartedly agree. We saw a fine example of Scotland’s contribution to the UK’s defences this week with the deployment of our new aircraft carrier strike group, which was built in yards around the United Kingdom, but was constructed in Scotland. Her Majesty’s Ship Queen Elizabeth will fly the flag for global Britain right around the world.