Cost of carrier decision revealed

ITN News

by ITN News

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More than 100 contracts totalling around £1.25 billion have been awarded towards the construction of the two new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Doubts were raised earlier this week over whether the coalition Government will press ahead with a £5 billion plan for the two Royal Navy warships being built at Rosyth and on the Clyde.

BAE systems chief executive Sir Ian King told the Defence Select Committee in the Commons on that the company was asked to consider a number of options ranging from "one carrier to no carriers".

There are fears that any downgrading of the programme could cost thousands of jobs at shipyards on the Clyde and at Rosyth.

The figures obtained by Thomas Docherty, Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, and show that "equipment sub-contract" orders placed between November 2006 to June 2010 were awarded to 68 different companies across 60 UK parliamentary constituencies.

The figures were revealed in an answer from MP Peter Luff, Parliamentary under-secretary of state for defence, after a parliamentary question was submitted by Mr Docherty.

The new figures were released as Labour's team in Govan launched a petition, organised by MSP candidate Stephen Curran and Ian Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow South West, calling on the Ministry of Defence to end speculation around the carriers.

Mr Docherty, who represents the Rosyth dockyard, said: "These figures highlight that the carrier contracts don't just affect thousands of jobs here in Rosyth and on the Clyde or indeed just across Scotland, but in fact across the whole of the United Kingdom. To rip up these contracts worth millions at this stage would not only be financial madness, but political suicide and I hope the coalition Government sees sense."