A multi-billion pound contract to start building new frigates on the Clyde has finally been signed off.

The deal for the first thee Type 26 frigates will secure around 1700 jobs in the Clyde and Scottish Shipyards and more in the supply chain.

Work will now start within a month on the ships.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced the deal has now been done with BAE, which owns the yards.

The news was welcomed by the SNP who have called for further contracts to be secured for the Clyde yards.

Mr Fallon said it would secure for decades on the Clyde.

He said: “The Type 26 Frigate is a cutting-edge warship, combining the expertise of the British shipbuilding industry with the excellence of the Royal Navy.

“We will cut steel on the first ship later this month, a hugely significant milestone that delivers on our commitment to maintain our global naval power.

“The investment will secure hundreds of skilled jobs at BAE Systems on the Clyde for the next twenty years, and thousands of jobs in the supply chain across Britain.”

The MoD said the deal for the second batch of five further type 26s would be negotiated early in the next decade securing more jobs for even longer.

Chris Stephens, SNP MP for Glasgow South West which includes Govan shipyard has been campaigning for the deal to be signed and called for others to follow

He said: “I am delighted that sustained pressure by myself, SNP colleagues, and the Trade Unions has finally paid off.

“The building of these frigates keeps shipbuilding on the Clyde, and will now allow BAE to reach out to the community in Govan and Scotstoun as one of the largest employers.

What is now required is a statement from the Ministry of Defence to commit to procure the Type 31 warships (general purpose frigates), so that shipbuilding on the Clyde will continue for decades. “

The Royal Navy said the frigates will be the most advances anti-submarine ships in the world

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: As one of the quietest and most potent submarine-hunters of any Navy, the Type 26 will have a crucial role to play to protect the nuclear deterrent and our two new aircraft carriers.”