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Ex-Navy chief: MoD 'out of money' to build ships on Clyde

A series of Royal Navy frigates were due to begin construction in Glasgow this year.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has "run out of money" and may delay warships due to be built on the Clyde, a former Royal Navy first sea lord has warned.

Lord West, who served as an admiral and first sea lord of the Navy, made the warning at a meeting of the defence select committee in Westminster.

Work on type 26 frigates was due to begin at the BAE shipyards in Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow in late 2016.

However, MPs heard of concerns surrounding a delay to the programme starting.

Lord West said: "There is almost no money available this year and we are really strapped next year. The government aren't coming clear about that. I think if they did people would understand.

"We have run out of money effectively and they [MoD] have pushed this programme to the right and that is bloody dangerous because whenever you do that you end up costing more money and we did that in the early 1990s for the astute class subs. Finally the order came in two months before the election.

"It has taken almost 20 years to get submarine building back on track properly and has cost an extra three-quarters-of-a-billion more than if we had got on with it then.

"This is where the Treasury don't see the long term thing and we are in danger of doing the same thing with our surface warship capability of the type 26."

http://stv.tv/news/politics/1351650-david-cameron-challenged-over-clyde-shipyard-job-fears/ | default

Trade unions at the yards have previously warned delays could result in job losses.

SNP MP Douglas Chapman, who sits on the defence committee, said Lord West's comments highlight the UK Government do not have "enough money" to cut the steel.

''Admiral Lord West's comments confirm what we already knew: the UK Government is dragging its heels on cutting steel for these frigates because there is simply not enough money in the budget.

"This throws into sharp relief the horrific strain that a £200bn obscenity like Trident puts on the rest of the defence budget.

"At a time when we should be dealing with Russian naval and aerial incursions in the North Atlantic and a whole host of other emerging threats, we are spending money on a weapons system that will never be used and now - we hear - in real danger of not seeing the commitments given to shipbuilding fulfilled.

''In addition as the Unite trade union witness at the committee underlined, any further delay on the Type 26 programme could be a real 'catastrophic ' hammer blow for jobs - and these are skills and capabilities we cannot afford to lose as a nation.".

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