THE Scottish Secretary has claimed the inability of the Clyde shipyards to build new Type 31 frigates is a sign of success.

Alister Jack, told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester that the ships were being built in Fife and the Clyde couldn’t bid for the work because it was at “full capacity”. This, he said, was a “success story”.

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The owners of the Govan and Scotstoun yards, BAE systems had planned an investment of up to £300m for a state of the art “frigate factory” at Scotstoun that could have built one ship a year for the Royal Navy.

However, the investment was pulled after UK defence budget cuts meant the investment couldn’t be justified.

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Glasgow MPs criticised Mr Jack and the government for reducing the potential of the shipyards.

Paul Sweeney, Labour Glasgow North East MP, said: “In my previous job as a shipbuilder I was involved in designing a world class new shipyard at Scotstoun that would have been capable of building two frigates simultaneously inside a 300 metre long covered dry dock.

“Due to the Tory austerity cuts to the defence budget, the MOD slowed the planned pace of the Type 26 project down to one ship every 18 months instead of one per year, which undermined the business case for investment in the £300 million new shipyard which would have massively expanded the Clyde’s capacity to build ships.

“While the job security of the Type 26 project is welcome, the Tories have to take responsibility for undermining the full potential it had for the Clyde, which is highlighted by Canada and Australia building more Type 26 frigates than the UK is in purpose built new frigate factories in Halifax and Adelaide. ”

Chris Stephens. SNP Glasgow South West MP, which includes Govan Shipyard, said if it wasn’t for Government cuts there could be a facility on the Clyde to build the frigates and more.

He said: “For the Secretary of State to suggest the Treasury cutting budgets and the MoD not providing a drumbeat of production and continuing with the feast or famine is a success is lamentable comment in the circumstances.

“To suggest the Type 31s not being built on the Clyde is a success story is stupid. Alister Jack might want to do some research as to what is happening with the Treasury and shipbuilding .”